Case Study – Poplar Farm Developments

The Skills Bank is an exciting new service which invests in skills and expertise to drive business growth. The Skills Bank will bring about a new culture in the skills system by empowering employers to choose and invest in the skills that they need. It is a £17 million fund, comprising of funding from the European Social Fund and Growth Funding.

Poplar Farm Developments are one of the many local businesses in the Sheffield City Region to benefit from Skills Bank funding. Poplar Farm Developments Ltd is a family run construction business, building new homes in the local area, with quality and character. The business had progressed from the start up stage to being a proven developer in the local area. Initial projects relied on finance and skills pooled from the whole family to enable the business to construct 15 homes in compliance with the industry leading NHBC standards.

Poplar have received funding for two different training courses through the Skills Bank, with the aim of increasing their high quality work and ensuring their employees have the relevant knowledge and skills to exceed client expectations. Their first training course (a CPCS appointed persons course) has been completed and the business has already reaped the benefits. In 2017 Poplar will complete their second training course (AAT Level 2 – Foundation Certificate in Accounting) to further increase the skills of their staff and create business growth.

Experience of the SCR Skills Bank

The Skills Bank process has been designed to be employer friendly, with employers receiving an outcome about their funding between 2-3 weeks after they have submitted their application. Alex Cooper, Business Administration Manager at Poplar, said: “Overall the process from registration, to application through to having the training completed has been very quick and easy. Help has been available whenever we needed it and we would recommend Skills Bank to every employer in the region who is seeking growth and staff development.”

Impact on Poplar of the SCR Skills Bank

The Skills Bank invests in the skills of employees in the region in order to drive business growth. It has already positively impacted many businesses and will continue to do so throughout the scheme. Alex said: “The training will ensure we can be prepared for future jobs and capitalise on the opportunities that arise to ensure greater return on investment, whilst also ensuring that we have the right staff with the knowledge and experience to keep our employees and subcontractors safe while working on our construction sites.” Skills Bank funding is available to businesses in different sectors and of all sizes which allows even small and micro businesses, who may not be in a position to fully fund their training, to develop the skills of their employees. In the case of Poplar, Alex mentioned: “Without Skills Bank funding, we would not be in a financial position to carry out the training at this time. It would mean sacrificing spend in other areas of the business, but this has allowed us to maximise all of our opportunities for growth.”

To find out more about the Sheffield City Region Skills Bank and check your eligibility, visit our website at: