Micro, Small or Medium Business Wanting to Upskill Existing Staff

You’ve been thinking about the skills and training needs and gaps in your organisation. You’ve read the ‘benefits and opportunities’ that investing in skills development and training can bring to your organisation. You’ve reflected on the ‘questions to consider’, reviewed your business plan if you have one, and maybe done some learning and development and/or succession planning.

You recognise that there are opportunities to train the staff that you already have. You can build on their existing skills, teach them new skills, and give them the chance for career progression by moving into new roles or taking on new responsibilities. You know what skill areas you need to focus on, you have an idea of what you want and when you need it. You don’t know what training is available or where to find it.

That’s where we come in.


An apprenticeship is a great way to upskill existing staff of any age. As a long-term investment in professional development, it’s a great way to offer career progression and to increase staff motivation and company loyalty.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship in the UK is a paid job with a contract of employment, where the employee learns and gains valuable experience while working.

Apprenticeships are suitable for people at any age and any level so you can hire someone new or upskill an existing employee. This will allow you to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. You’re training someone in the skills you need and that are relevant to your workplace, and showing a commitment to ongoing learning and development.

Use this guide to find out more about apprenticeships and the benefits to your business.

What do you need to do to start someone on an apprenticeship?

When an existing employee starts an apprenticeship, they might continue with their existing role and salary, or you may create a new role which is a progression opportunity for them. Whatever the situation, they will need to be released from their day-to-day duties for off the job training.

There are several steps you need to take. You can find those and our top tips here.

Finding other training to upskill existing employees

There are lots of training courses available locally and nationally depending on what you are looking for. There are a variety of options to suit your needs – for example short courses, longer term part-time courses, face to face and online. The range of subjects is large, so you’ll need to give it some thought before you start your search. We’re here to help you narrow down that search as we know it can be daunting.

Finding the right course and training provider

You may already be working with a training provider. If you are happy with their services, see if they offer the course/s you are looking for. If they don’t, they may be able to suggest other providers who do.

If not, you probably know other businesses in the same sector as you or in the same local area. Why not ask them for any recommendations?

You can also search online. Depending on the type of course you are looking for, you could get hundreds of results, or just a couple. Shop for training in the same way as you would anything on the internet. Some things to consider:

  • does the training need to be in person, or could it be online?
  • can your employees travel if it’s in person?
  • do you want or need to buy local?
  • what’s your budget?
  • do some due diligence. Check out Trust Pilot or Google reviews of the business.
  • shop around. Speak to a few providers. Get a sense of what they’re offering. Do you like them?

Sussex Council of Training Providers (SCTP), delivery partner for the Transform project (funded until Dec 2023), is the training provider network for Sussex with over 90 members, including independent training providers, further education colleges and universities.  If you would like to be introduced to training providers who can deliver the training you are looking for, please email us on info@sctp.org.uk.

Here are national sources of free accredited e-learning courses:

Paying for skills training

Some training providers are fully commercial, and you will need to pay for the training courses that they offer. Some providers receive government funding and courses may be free or partially funded. Some providers may be a hybrid of both. We recommend you speak to the provider to find out if there is any funding towards the cost of the course.

Skills bootcamps

Skills bootcamps are free courses of up to 16 weeks for adults aged 19 and over. They give people the opportunity to learn sector-specific skills based on local employer demand and provide a direct path to a job on completion. They are co-designed with employers to respond to their skills shortages.

Skills Bootcamps deliver training at levels 3-5 (medium to higher level technical skills) and occasionally at level 2 where it is more appropriate for the sector.

This training is for adults who are either in work, self-employed, unemployed, or returning to work after a break.

You can use skills bootcamps to train your existing employees. As a small or medium sized employer, you will need to contribute 10% to the cost of the course.

Existing employees may need time to study and attend classes depending on their working hours and status and the flexibility of the course.

To find out more and to contact providers, visit this link.

Now that you have looked at the different options available, had back over to the Transform Skills Toolkit home page to find out about useful support agencies and websites that can help your business.

Choose the tile below that best describes your business.

“As a charity, we promote other employers to take on Supported Apprenticeships.  The apprentices enhance our business and we learn alongside each one and improve our performance in the areas where they are working.  It is great to be able to develop new staff and existing staff in this format.”