Organisations urged to access funding to develop skills base

Funds worth £26.8 million on offer to support skills and learning development across Greater Birmingham & Solihull.

Organisations and providers across Greater Birmingham & Solihull are being advised to take advantage of regional funds totalling £26.8 million before the deadline for applications closes on 5th October.

The European Social Fund programme – which focuses on improving employment opportunities for the local population – has launched funding packages across a variety of sectors. Funding is available to integrate more young people into work, with a strong focus on encouraging those who are not in education, employment or training or individuals who are at risk of falling into this category. It is also focused on upskilling and re-skilling the area’s existing workforce.

Applications for ESF match funding are available for businesses and individuals across the following areas:

Sustainable Integration of Young People into the Labour Market

£7.2 million of funding is available for providers to help young people, particularly including those not in employment, education or training or those at risk of social exclusion and from marginalised communities across the region to get into work. A minimum of £300,000 ESF is available to applicants. [Available in Birmingham, Solihull, Redditch, Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest].

Higher Level Skills: Enhancing equal access to lifelong learning

£6 million is on offer to providers and organisations to give workers of all age groups the chance to upgrade their knowledge, with a strong focus on higher and intermediate skills. A minimum of £500,000 ESF is available to applicants. [Available in Birmingham, Solihull, Redditch, Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest].

Basic and Lower Level Skills: Enhancing equal access to lifelong learning

A total of £6.25 million is available for providers and organisations across the wider region to give workers of all age groups the chance to upgrade their knowledge, with a strong focus on basic and lower-level skills. A minimum of £300,000 ESF is available to applicants. (£5 million available in Birmingham, Solihull, Redditch, Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest. £1.25 million available in Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Tamworth and East Staffordshire)

Improving the labour market relevance of education and training systems: Skills for Growth Hub development

More than £1.3 million of funding is available for providers and organisations to assist SME businesses across the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership area. The funding is aimed at developing a GBSLEP Skills for Growth Hub, which will integrate with and support the existing GBSLEP Growth Hub – offering support to SMEs to increase apprenticeships, skills levels in their workforce, intern and work experience uptake. A minimum of £500,000 will be allocated to each project.

Enhancing equal access to lifelong learning: Greater Birmingham and Solihull Skills for Growth Hub – Skills Training Response fund

Linked to the Skills for Growth Hub development call, there is £6 million allocated for providers and organisations to deliver provision and support to address the skills issues of SMEs and their employees to assist economic and employment growth. A minimum of £500,000 ESF is available to applicants. (Available in Birmingham, Solihull, Redditch, Bromsgrove, Wyre Forest)

Andrew Cleaves, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Lead Board Director for Employment and Skills, said: “These funding packages provide opportunities for organisations across Greater Birmingham & Solihull to help develop skills and drive productivity that allow us to compete on a global scale.

“Building on the GBSLEP’s Strategic Economic Plan, up to £27 million worth of European funding is available to apply for until 5th October to improve the job prospects of the region’s young people and upskill those currently in work.

“For those organisations who wish to access this funding, we would encourage them to contact the ESF Technical Assistance Team for support in the development of their projects. In line with the GBSLEP SEP this funding will help contribute towards the 6000 firms that will be supported between now and 2020, which will boost the local economy by up to £1.5 billion.”

The GBSLEP is hosting a roadshow event for those interested in learning more about ESF and the sorts of projects which can be supported. The event will take place between 13.30-16.00 on Friday 8th September in the Council Chamber at Birmingham City Council, Victoria Square.

Guest speakers at the event include Inderjit Sanghera, Senior Operations Manager for the Department for Work and Pensions and Ian McLaughlan, GBSLEP Growth Hub Manager. There will also be an opportunity to speak to ESF funding experts as part of a networking session.

To register your interest in the roadshow or for more information about the ESF funding available, email gbslep@solihull.gov.uk or click here.