Boost for Black Country Skills Factory

Funding will help continue supporting businesses to address skills shortages.

The Black Country Skills Factory have secured £533,672 from the European Social Fund with opt in matched funding from the Skills Funding Agency. The funding will enable the Skills Factory to continue improving the labour market relevance of education and training across the Black Country by supporting employers in upskilling their workforce.

The project will support the Skills Factory to help address skills shortages in the Black Country LEP’s five transformational sectors, Advanced Manufacturing, Transport Technologies, Building Technologies, Environmental Technologies & Business Services.

The Skills Factory will design and develop education and training programmes to meet employer needs, helping individuals to gain the skills and qualifications relevant to the sectors in which they are employed. In delivering these programmes the Skills Factory will ensure employers have access to a skilled labour force.

Building on the experience and networks developed through the Black Country Skills Factory model developed from 2013, the project will deliver the following four strands:

1) Skills Factory Brand: establish a Skills Factory as a first point of contact in the region for skills development in growth sectors. The Skills Factory team is based in the Black Country and will engage with employers to develop solutions and offer impartial advice to help address their up-skilling needs.
2) Up-skilling: The Skills Factory will provide the brokerage of bite-sized training courses in specific skills gap areas to meet employers’ needs so as to increase the pipeline of suitable skilled staff for the growth sectors. A range of courses will be delivered across these sectors as well as brokerage of bespoke training to meet specific business needs.
3) Apprentices: The Skills Factory will increase the take up of apprenticeships and progression onto high level qualifications in the Skills Factory sector(s) for both young people engaged through educational establishments and existing SME workforce.
4) Schools Engagement: The Skills Factory will encourage young people to understand and engage in the growth sector(s) by targeting schools, further/higher education, teachers, parents and pupils providing expert career advice and positive pathways.

Stewart Towe, Black Country LEP Chair said: “This funding is great news for the Black Country Skills Factory and will enable it to continue to make education and training provision more responsive to the needs of the economy, so that employers’ skills needs are more quickly and more effectively met, and individuals receive better designed skills provision which equips them for the world of work.”

The project which will run until July 2018. For further information visit: or contact Colin Parker on 07944 268709.