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April 3, 2008

Skillstruck launches £15m Merseyside training drive

Illustrating the growing importance of live marketing to the public sector, a major campaign – the Skillstruck – launches on Merseyside today (1 October) to publicise a £15 million training fund for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the region.

The five-week roadshow, fronted by a Grand Prix-themed mobile exhibition vehicle, will encourage small companies to take advantage of newly released European Social Fund money for the SkillWorks programme.

Skills on wheels: Skillstruck hits the road on 1 October

The ambitious campaign for the Learning and Skills Council Greater Merseyside has been devised by marketing agency Paver Downes in partnership with Gap Infomedia and face-to-face marketing specialists Event Marketing Solutions (EMS).

Its objective is to raise awareness of SkillWorks – a hugely successful programme subsidising demand-led training for SMEs – by targeting younger, less qualified employees, as well as small business owners and directors.

The centrepiece of the campaign is a Grand Prix-themed touring exhibition vehicle, called the Skillstruck, offering one-to-one advice from training advisors, together with a range of interactive games and activities, including an on-board racing simulator.

Custom-made by EMS, the impressive 11m x 5m vehicle will visit 25 locations over five weeks. Business and retail parks are targeted to ensure maximum footfall from an SME audience.

A promotional ‘hit squad’ in a branded Mini Cooper will visit each location the day before the Skillstruck arrives, distributing literature and raising awareness for the next day. Daily prize draws will also take place to maximise visitor interaction and data capture during the tour.

Furthermore, a dedicated website (www.skillstruck.co.uk) has been created by the Gap Infomedia team to support the campaign.

Commenting on the roadshow, Paul Tinsley, partnership manager at the Learning and Skills Council Greater Merseyside, stressed the importance of the campaign. “SkillWorks is one of the most successful training programmes ever run on Merseyside, and this campaign will play a vital role in helping more businesses to benefit from this huge injection of funding,” he said.

Meanwhile, managing director of Gap Infomedia Phillip Ramsey explained that the live experience was a great way of getting across the required message to the general public and local businesses. “The face-to-face focus for this campaign provides the perfect environment for explaining the detail of the offer and encouraging businesses to take the next step,” he said. “In order to maximise results, we want to raise awareness and demand among both employers and employees, recognising that both stand to benefit from the SkillWorks programme.”

When asked about the incorporation of the Grand Prix theme, Keith Austin, managing director of EMS, said: “Coupled with the on-board games, it gives the Skillstruck an instant appeal, but we have also included quiet spaces for one-to-one briefings and information. It’s a sophisticated unit that is set to make a big impact.”

The Skillstruck campaign launches in Williamson Square in the centre of Liverpool.

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