Harrogate BID is excited to launch a brand new match-funding scheme, offering Members the chance to gain valuable experience working overseas with Harrogate’s twinned towns.

The new International Work Experience Grant from the BID will allow staff from levy-paying businesses to travel to one of Harrogate’s four twin towns – Luchon in France, Montecatini in Italy, Barrie in Canada or Wellington in New Zealand – to represent their sector and learn more about working in other countries.

The work experience scheme has initially launched alongside Barrie in Canada and Montecatini in Italy, with hope that the other twin towns will join in the near future.

The BID team believe that the scheme will help to encourage staff retention and a wider recruitment pool into Harrogate, empower staff through a unique experience which can be filtered to wider colleagues and stimulate diverse ways of working through hosting twin town colleagues and partners.

Harrogate BID understands that businesses in the town centre are facing unprecedented pressure for resource and recruitment, so the team continue to work hard to ensure the town remains a desirable place to work and develop a career.

Harrogate BID Manager, Matthew Chapman, said: “Having been lucky enough to travel to both Barrie and Montecatini, I’m very excited to see this project come to fruition.

“Our members have consistently told us that recruitment and retention of staff has been challenging for a while now, so to be able to support them through a meaningful way is really exciting.”

Dennis Richards, Chair of the Harrogate International Partnerships, added: “There is increasing awareness that Harrogate is uniquely privileged in having four long standing links with towns in the Commonwealth and in Europe.

“Congratulations to BID on this exciting initiative. Barrie in Canada is a great place for such a project.”

Meanwhile, Craig Stevens, Executive Director of the Downtown Barrie BIA, said: “Downtown businesses all around the world are experiencing challenges with hiring and retaining employees. We are so fortunate to have had Matthew and Micheal visit Downtown Barrie and see first-hand our local business community and propose an international partnership with the Harrogate BID.

“I am really excited to be working together and mutually supporting our local community businesses with the International Work Experience Grant.”

The International Work Experience Grant is open to all BID Members and is available on a first come first serve basis. The BID will provide match funding up to £750, with certain terms and conditions, which can be found on the Harrogate BID website, applying.

For any further information, please contact the BID team by emailing info@harrogatebid.co.uk