West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s businesses are set to benefit from a pioneering £800k digital skills project being launched in Penzance this summer.

The project, Digitising the Economy through Skills Development, will be collaborating with up to 400 local businesses and sole traders to understand what digital skills they think their businesses need.

Funded training will be available to upskill staff as well as the opportunity to take on an apprentice being trained in the skills they need.  The feedback of local businesses will influence the design of new digital apprenticeships intended to ensure the apprentice and their employer is equipped for the online marketplace and the future of businesses in the digital age.

Janus Howard, MD of the lead partner Digital Peninsula Network, said: “We are extremely excited to see the impact of this project on local businesses and apprentices. It is proven that digital skills can boost profits and reduce costs. Nationally, small businesses with a strong web presence grow more than twice as quickly, export twice as much and create twice as many jobs as those without.”

Martin Tucker, director of Penwith College and chairman of Penzance Regeneration Partnership, added: “Truro and Penwith College is delighted that the Digitising the Economy Project bid has been successful and we look forward to supporting the development of new training opportunities and their subsequent delivery.

“The college has a proven record in delivering outstanding training and education and supporting the business community of Cornwall. The opportunities are significant and we look forward to engaging with as many employers as possible to grow their opportunities with digital skills.”

The ESF (European Social Fund) has contributed £641,185 to the project with the rest of the funding contributed by the partners.

The project is being led by Digital Peninsula Network (DPN) with delivery partners Truro and Penwith College, Penzance Business Improvement District, Maybe* and the Council of the Isles of Scilly with Penzance Regeneration Partnership contributing to funding. The application for funding was completed by DPN with support from local consultancy, Perfect Moment.

The project will be running in West Penwith and the Isles of Scilly for the next two years. To find out more about how to be involved, contact Digital Peninsula Network 01736 333700.