Grant available for enhancing equal access to lifelong learning

ESIF LogoLocal organisations have until 11 July 2016 to apply for a share of £500,000 to provide succession leadership and management planning in Worcestershire.

Applications are being invited for a minimum of £50,000 of European Social Funding (ESF) for proposals that will enhance equal access to lifelong learning, provide skills for the local workforce and promote flexible learning and career guidance for all age groups in formal and informal settings.

The call is primarily focused on leadership and management training in small and medium–sized enterprises with up to 250 employees. Activities may also be supported that address the skills shortages or needs in particular sectors or local areas which are not currently being addressed by employers or individuals.

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.

Applicants will be assessed in two stages of the application process, the outline and full application stages, with the deadline for the initial stage application being 11 July 2016. Applicants will need to have eligible 50% match funding for the balance of costs, which must be from a source other than the European Union, and proof of match funding will need to be supplied as part of the assessment for all outline applications.

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP), said: “Leadership and management skills are crucial within organisations and this fund is a great opportunity to enhance equal access to lifelong learning.

“This Succession Leadership and Management Planning programme will help employers with succession planning, the future sustainability and growth of their business as well as enhance the skills of the local workforce.

“We are working with Government to understand what the vote to leave means for the future of the EU funding programme and specifically the money allocated to Worcestershire. However, in the meantime I would encourage interested parties to apply for these funds ahead of the 11 July deadline.”

More information is available on European Structural and Investment Funds and to download the outline application form, visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

For support and business advice, including funding opportunities available within the County, contact Worcestershire.Business.Central. by phoning 01905 677888 or emailing info@business-central.co.uk.