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Open up to Skills

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What is Open up to Skills?

The “Open Up to Skills” project will support 700 additional training places to improve workforce skills and benefit businesses within the following sectors as part of Devon County Council’s economic recovery response in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The project is delivered in partnership with Seetec Outsource.

Devon County Council’s Economy, Enterprise and Skills service has invested £450,000 into an upskilling training scheme which will focus on the Catering, Hospitality, Leisure, Tourism and Retail sectors as these sectors are some of the hardest hit during the pandemic.

The project will provide training to upskill employees within their existing workplace and will also deliver new skills to improve the opportunities of those seeking alternative employment.

A wide range of skills support will be on offer covering:

  • Digital skills
  • Financial and operational management
  • More specific skills development such as Health & Safety, food hygiene and allergen awareness
  • Practical skills including customer service.

The ‘Open Up to Skills’ project aims to help businesses and the community overcome the devastating impact of the pandemic and inspire many to enhance their skills, versatility and resilience to such challenges.


Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said: “There were some positive signs during this summer’s tourist season but there are still many challenges ahead. As we move out of the pandemic, these sectors are struggling to recruit and retain staff and if that is not addressed it will impact on levelling up our economy. So, there is still a need to support those businesses that have survived the disruption of COVID as well as those individuals who have lost their job as a result of the pandemic.

“The aim of this Open Up to Skills project is to help local people and businesses in Devon to bounce back quicker through the recovery process. Providing training for individuals in these sectors that have been most disadvantaged will help them to progress with their current employer or into a new career, and this will also benefit the companies they work for.”

Jason Hurn, National Director for Education and Skills at Seetec, highlights the positive impact that this new provision will have on local communities in Devon. He said: “At Seetec we’re committed to improving lives and delivering social and economic value to the individuals, businesses and communities we serve.”

“We’re delighted to be working exclusively with Devon County Council to help these communities bounce back as quickly and sustainably as possible from the effects of the pandemic. Hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure and catering are core sectors in the region, and it will be vital to provide skills that support individuals seeking alternative employment or looking to progress within their chosen career.”

Who is eligible?

  • Individuals wanting to join or already working in the Tourism, Catering, Hospitality, Retail or Leisure sectors will be able to sign up to this great training opportunity.
  • Small and medium sized enterprises operating within these sectors who are looking to upskill their staff to increase the flexibility and resilience of their workforce and business model.

How do I find out more?

Training will be delivered by Seetec Outsource across the Devon County Council area from now until March 2023 with support from key partners including Visit Devon.

To find out more and to express your interest:

Click here for Seetec Outsource – Individuals  
Click here for Seetec Outsource – Employers