Dozens of local people are set to be given a skills boost following the completion of the first round of the Ayrshire Skills Investment Fund (ASIF).

The £3.5million Ayrshire Growth Deal project was launched at the end of October to help employers grow and develop their employees and increase skills for residents, linking them to growth sectors and employment opportunities.

And ASIF has successfully awarded grants across Ayrshire in the first round of funding - with 15 employers receiving money to allow them to upskill around 60 staff across the area.

The successful businesses come from the priority industries of engineering, digital, clean growth and the visitor economy and the funding will allow them to put staff through training to give them new skills to help both the individual and the employer.

This time grants were awarded to Lowmac Alloys (two bids): £2,202; Auchrannie (two bids): £5,500; Munro External Works, £11,950; Big Hand Events: £4,500; Elizabeth Wallace Bridal: £2,000; Solutions on Demand £2,940; Microtech: £2,494; EA CVO: £3,010;  Kerr and Smith: £10,000; McCulloch Group (two bids): £4, 595; Prestwick Airport: £450; Morgan Ward NDT Ltd: £4,600; Biosphere Bikes: £2,594; A Wilson & Co: £545 and IMT Aviation: £3,000.

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North Ayrshire Councillor Marie Burns, chair of the Ayrshire Economic Joint Committee, said: "We are delighted that the fund is now open and great to see that we already have had a number of successful applicants who will now use the funding to upskill staff. It is a fantastic opportunity for the staff to develop new skills and take on new challenges.

"There are skills gaps and the fund allows us to address these and provide opportunities for disadvantaged groups at the same time.

"The Ayrshire Growth Deal is exciting for the whole region. It is all very well investing in big projects, but we have to have the personnel in place and ready to deliver the work."

The fund is available to employers across Ayrshire and offers them a chance to apply for funding – a maximum of £3,000 per person – to help address skill gaps in their workforce.

Employees being given the opportunity must live in Ayrshire. 

The fund is an Ayrshire Growth Deal project and has been established to target priority groups – young people, females, people with long-term health conditions and people in low-paid employment – to help them gain new skills and qualifications in existing and emerging growth sectors.

Employers can apply to the ASIF fund by visiting www.ayrshiregrowthdeal/

Contact for more information on the eligibility criteria.

The next round will close on Friday, January 26, with many further dates throughout 2024 available.