Job seekers and businesses have been given a boost after a university landed a cash windfall.

Oxford Brookes University has won £473,680 grant which will be used to offer training for up to 2,000 unemployed people in the county to help improve their skills and qualifications.

And the money will also be used to offer innovative businesses special master classes designed to help them improve efficiency and compete in the recession while would-be entrepreneurs can also apply for funding.

The award, from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will help Brookes build on successful ongoing projects and complement existing programmes from organisations such as JobCentre Plus, Train to Gain, Business Link and Oxford Innovation.

Professor Janet Beer, vice-chancellor of Brookes, said: “This a major piece of funding that will immediately and directly benefit companies and individuals most in need in these difficult economic times.

“Brookes is a key economic driver within the region and I am confident this programme will make a further impact on work that we have carried out over many years.

“These initiatives will give businesses and workers better chances throughout the downturn and beyond.”

Initiatives will incude: • Courses for about 2,000 learners in disadvantaged and rural areas • Three-hundred seminar places for businesses with intensive training on survival and growth strategies.

• Twenty vouchers worth up to £4,000 each for business consultancy • Eight bursaries to recruit the best graduates from around the world to join local companies in knowledge transfer programmes.

• Help for anyone looking to start their won business