Closing date looming for SME training funding

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Funding for Sandwell small and medium-sized enterprises is on offer through the Skills Support for the Workforce scheme, launched last year to help SMEs upskill their workforce and in turn increase productivity and stimulate growth.

The funding is co-financed by the European Union’s European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and is available to businesses operating across many sectors, including aerospace and automotive, building technologies, construction, advanced manufacturing, engineering, logistics, food and drink, and environmental technologies.

The aim of the scheme is to help SMEs meet the cost of non-compulsory, work-based training to support their business growth plans. Almost £10m is available to fund the free training for employees but local businesses need to act quickly as the closing date for applications is only months away. The funding is only available until next year, 2018.

The Black Country is renowned for its world-class engineering expertise and has a large labour force but employers in the region are facing challenges as a high proportion of the workforce has low or no skills in some areas, such as IT and technical skills.

The Skills Support for the Workforce scheme is designed to improve this situation and it has already helped thousands of companies across the UK to upskill their employees. It offers a variety of fully funded, certified training courses and professional qualifications, enabling SMEs to offer their employees development opportunities.

The training courses are being managed by Calderdale College, using locally-based training providers, such as Sandwell College. Think Sandwell will be holding a number of awareness sessions at Sandwell Business Solutions Centre, starting in October. These will cover construction, manufacturing, leadership and management, and health and social care.

We will send out invitations and more details soon but if your company is interested in taking part you can contact us at

Or for further information about Skills Support for the Workforce and to check whether your business is eligible for fully-funded training, please visit

[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at]