Barnsley business one of over 1,000 supported with skills training through Leeds City Region

Barnsley business one of over 1,000 supported with skills training through Leeds City Region

A Barnsley-based door manufacturing company is one of over 1,000 businesses to have secured funding to train their staff through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Distinction Doors has grown from a standing start to be the UK’s leading composite door manufacturer for residential homes. Ranked in Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list 2014 the company has also seen a significant sales increase in the last three years.

Supported by Enterprising Barnsley, the business support arm of Barnsley Council, they approached the LEP’s skills service for funding and training support to achieve their longer term growth plans which include increasing staff and apprentices as well as tripling their turnover.

Distinction Doors has undergone transformational growth over the last 18 months, with the appointment of a new CEO, a new Board of Directors and increased staff numbers.   Through the LEP’s skills service, they secured a grant of over £16,500 for staff to undertake a range of training including a management and leadership programme for the senior management team to support them to become more effective in driving decisions and in communicating effectively.

A team leading programme was also undertaken to equip a member of staff with specific skills to complete additional responsibilities previously carried out by Senior Managers.

The Finance Director also benefitted from the funded training, and completed an Institute of Directors (IOD) Certificate in Company Directorship designed to increase skills in finance management and strategic planning.

Other courses included Level 3 CIPD Certificate in Human Resource Practice to upskill an existing staff member to assist with HR duties, enabling the HR Director to hand over operational aspects of HR and concentrate on the more strategic aspects in order to grow the business. The Certification provided a good grounding in HR and opportunity to benefit the business by learning best practice from other HR professionals.

Helen Lovack, HR Director at Distinction Doors, said: “We’re really excited about the opportunities that the grant from the LEP’s skills service has opened up. The company has been through some really positive changes in recent months, with the appointment of Andrew Fowlds as our new CEO. Staff can now be trained to achieve their full potential, which will assist the company to reach our strategic objectives.”

Stephanie Burras CBE, Chair of the LEP’s Employment and Skills Panel said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to give Distinction Doors the support that it needs to reach its financial aims with funding from the skills service. The LEP is dedicated to ensuring that local businesses primed for growth have the skills to succeed. It’s fantastic that our skills service has been able to support over 1,000 businesses to train their staff and drive forward their growth ambitions.   The LEP service to business is comprehensive and we have a team of advisors on hand to support employers with the paperwork, source appropriate training provision and submit their application for funding. Support is only available for a limited time therefore I really would urge companies to get in touch now to see how the LEP can help them.”

Enterprising  Barnsley, the economic development arm of Barnsley Council, provides specialist support to businesses with growth potential. It helped broker the LEP’s skill service funding for Distinction Doors and continues to work with the company to support business and workforce developments and future jobs creation.

Enterprising Barnsley’s HR business consultant Judy Sidebottom said: “The LEP skills service support has had a significant impact at Distinction Doors and delivered impressive results. The management team stepped back and assessed the whole company’s training needs before taking a strategic approach to investing in their staff at all levels, from Operative to Director. The rewards have been a very successful programme of LEP-supported workforce development.”

To find out if your business is eligible for Skills Service funding and to apply, please visit: or contact them on 0113 386 1910 and

Notes to editor

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, also known as the LEP, is a private and public sector partnership, working to stimulate business growth across the Leeds City Region. The Leeds City Region geography includes 11 local authorities (Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire County Council). Our vision is to unlock the potential of the City Region, developing an economic powerhouse that creates jobs and prosperity. Our mission is that by acting as a bridge between government and business, we will help businesses to unlock their potential, attracting and retaining the best talent to the City Region and building its profile nationally and internationally.

The LEP skills service is designed to provide employers within the Leeds City Region with greater ownership for addressing their skills needs to improve business competitiveness.

  • The LEP offers support services enabling employers to source and finance the training their business needs.
  • Eligible businesses can access between £500 and £50,000 to access training, with an objective to enable businesses (mainly SMEs) to have more effective “purchasing power” in the skills market.
  • Businesses can design their own solutions and plug gaps in the mainstream offer .
  • Accessing the LEP skills service is simple and straightforward.
  • Key employers are leading the service supported by the LEP and the Leeds City Region Skills Network.
  • Skills service priority sectors are: creative and digital, finance and business, hospitality and tourism, low carbon and construction, manufacturing and engineering, transport and logistics and medical technology.

For further information contact: Eleanor Guthrie, Marketing and Communications Officer, LEP skills service, 0113 386 1915 or

Additional media contact: Steph Pollard 01226 766900 or at or 0776 196 4492.

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