Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 14.38.20A Morpeth-based bookkeeper has added to her digital skill set with the help of a fully-funded training programme from iNorthumberland Business Support. Having completed the programme she has become the first business in Northumberland to benefit from a free upgrade to superfast broadband.

Former teacher Sara O’ Dwyer, who started Micawber Bookkeeping last September, has taken advantage of an online training programme that includes nine courses, accessible from anywhere via an e-learning portal at www.inorthumberlandbusiness.co.uk.

Knowing that she needed to improve her knowledge of websites and SEO in order to grow her new business, Sara originally registered for the iNorthumberland Business Support programme when she found out that training was available on these topics, with the superfast broadband on offer acting as an extra incentive.

The programme includes online training courses on social media, search engine optimisation (SEO) and cloud technologies. They have been designed to help Northumberland SME businesses make the best use of the superfast broadband that is currently being rolled out across the county. SMEs can also attend face-to-face masterclasses to further their training and learn from experts in field.

Eligible businesses like Micawber Bookkeeping, that complete at least twelve hours of business support can apply for a year’s free superfast broadband – worth up to £400.

Since completing the training, Sara has created her first website and has started to use social media to attract new customers to her business. She has also attended masterclasses to further enhance her skills, where she was inspired by the expert course leaders and had the chance to network with other businesses.

Sara said: “I have found all of the online training courses really useful and now have a long list of things to do that will help me to grow my business. I’m particularly hoping to make use of social media to increase my client base.

“I initially registered with iNorthumberland Business Support to take advantage of the free training but I am delighted to also benefit from free superfast broadband. I would highly recommend the training to other Northumberland-based businesses and look forward to attending more masterclasses myself.”

Cllr Dave Ledger, Deputy Leader of Northumberland County Council and chair of Arch, The Northumberland Development Company said: “It’s great to hear about recently established companies like Micawber Bookkeeping that are making the most of the training provided by iNorthumberland Business Support.

“We are pleased to be presenting Sara with the first cheque for free superfast broadband, and hope to help many more Northumberland companies to capitalise on the available superfast broadband in order to grow their businesses.”