Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

FUNDED support is being offered to help businesses tackle challenges posed by the coronavirus and invest in developing their staff.

York-based Pro-Development is a training partner with the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges, and launched its Higher Performing Workplaces project in April to help businesses grow by developing internal talent.

Pro-Development, who have been supporting local businesses for the last nine years, are a local training partner with the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) who launched their Higher Performing Workplaces project in April 2020 aimed at supporting SMEs in the Leeds City Region to grow through developing internal talent with an extensive range of training programmes with 40% funding towards the cost from the European Social Fund (ESF).

Michelle Mook, who founded Pro-Development, employee engagement and development specialists, believes many businesses could lose key talent in the aftermath of recent changes without any investment in people.

She said participating employers were seeing more engagement in their business, and the training was helping to address some of the conflict that had arisen through virtual working and the furlough scheme.

She said: “The employee engagement projects which attract 40% funding are really helping businesses to understand what is working at the moment and where they may have some challenges and together, we are helping to build action plans that will help them towards becoming a higher performing workplace.

“That along with the empowering leaders projects which includes our unique 7-month outdoor experiential programme and a mentoring programme, both again which are eligible for 40% funding, are providing the time, support, training and skills development which is helping leaders, managers and individuals to develop and ensure they are bringing out the best in their teams and each other.”

One of their long-standing valued clients, Drivespeed Group based in York, employ a team of talented professionals and, like many other businesses, have been concerned about the wellbeing and engagement of their people through the crisis. Having taken advantage of the funding, it has enabled them to undertake an employee engagement project and a place for one of their Managers on their Empowering Leaders programme. Michelle Wallis, their Finance Director said “receiving the funding grant towards training with Pro Development has ensured we are able to keep up valued training, which is especially needed in these current times. Keeping staff motivated and trained has ensured our business will move forward stronger than ever before. In addition, it has not only saved us in actual costs but also long-term staff retention, which is our biggest and most valued asset.”

Pro-Development have helped several companies in the last few weeks to make changes and can already see the difference it is making. Another of their clients, Mollan & Co, an Accountancy practice in York, were also keen to create a high performing team.

Managing Director, Rob Mollan, said “Access to the help and funding made the decision to get assistance developing our team a no brainer. All teams need nurturing to get the best but unfortunately the pressure of the day to day business can mean this is something that can be neglected. Knowing that a happy functional team means we can do the best for our clients we appointed Pro-Development to run a team building day which was a big success. We found that getting someone from outside the business was a positive allowing people to be more open in discussing the issues and opportunities. We will defiantly be using Pro-Development again to help rebuild the team spirit after so many weeks of remote working during lockdown.”

Pro-Development are also pleased to announce that they will also be one of just 3 providers in the region offering fully funded Back in Business Peer to Peer Group sessions starting in September to help SME businesses work together and support each other with the current challenging environment over the coming weeks.

Joanne Patrickson, Project Director at the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges said, “These sessions will allow individuals to connect with like-minded business people from across our region to share experiences and ideas to get back on the road to business growth.

“We’re giving SMEs the opportunity to solve issues with their peers and action-plan to take their business forward in a changing economy, at no cost to them. Each session will be facilitated by a highly qualified coach, who will support and encourage solution-based discussions.”

Anyone interested in finding our more about the funded programmes should contact them by emailing and they will check eligibility and share the range of opportunities available. You can also find our more on their website

Trackback from your site.