£3.5m of European Social Funds available in Worcestershire

Local organisations have until the deadline of 15 January 2017 to apply for a share of four different European Union funding streams.

esf-logoApplications are being invited for a share of a total of £3.5m of European Social Funding (ESF) for a range of schemes that focus on improving employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills with dedicated events also being held to explain the opportunities available.

The calls for funding, which went live last month (28 November 2016), are available for:

  • Integration of Young People – Worcestershire Apprenticeship Hub and Clearing House Expansion: £1m has been allocated to fund projects targeting assistance to promote and engage young people under the age of 24 years old in apprenticeships which would build on and expand the successful Worcestershire Apprenticeship Clearing House
  • Access to Employment for Jobseekers and Inactive People in Worcestershire LEP Area: £1.5m has been allocated to run projects to support target groups with multiple barriers in the Worcestershire LEP Area to access employment opportunities through the provision of tailored support. This is a Worcestershire initiative to aid people with varied health challenges to get access to training, skills development and into work
  • Enhancing Equal Access to Lifelong Learning – Succession Leadership and Management Planning: £500,000 has been allocated to run projects to support the future growth of local businesses in Worcestershire and the productivity of the workforce, in particular on the succession leadership and management training for SMEs. This is an opportunity to devise tailored work-based leadership and management development in SMEs in order to secure future growth of small to medium enterprises.
  • Enhancing Equal Access to Lifelong Learning – Upskill Worcestershire: £500,000 is being made available to target people who want to improve their work and career opportunities through advanced and/or transferable skills development or retraining. The focus will be on the provision of support to assist people aged over 50 years, women and others in the workforce to either update or access new skills that will enable them to retain their employment status and promote upskilling among existing employers.

Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership in partnership with Vestia Community Trust, Community First and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, are also hosting two information events related to these current ESF calls to help local organisations understand the opportunities available. These are being held on Thursday 8 December from 12:30 – 2:30pm at The Community Housing Group’s offices at Foley Grove, Stourport Road, Kidderminster or on Tuesday, 13 December 2016, from 11am – 1pm at County Hall, Worcester. Places must be booked in advance by contacting Worcestershire Business Central. Details of the events can be found here.

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “These four European Social Funds will provide crucial support within the County to develop skills, improve employment opportunities and promote social inclusion. This is a great opportunity for local organisations to provide these services and I would encourage interested parties to contact Worcestershire Business Central to book a place at one of the two information events at the earliest opportunity to understand the local support available to access this funding.”

The European Social Fund (ESF) is part of the England 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme (ESIF) which launched in March 2015 and focuses on improving employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help needed for people to fulfil their potential. To gain further details on European Structural and Investment Funds, the application process and to download the outline application form, visit the gov website.

To secure a place on one of the dedicated events, contact Worcestershire Business Central by phoning 01905 677888 or by emailing info@business-central.co.uk