The Black Country Skills Factory is a Local Enterprise Partnership initiative aimed at addressing skills shortages in the region. The initiative has been awarded additional funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency of £317,500, which will enable it to continue its work until 2019.
The Skills Factory works in conjunction with local colleges and training providers to develop employer-led bite-sized courses for businesses interested in up-skilling their workforces. The additional funding, which comes from the European Social Fund, will mean that a further 650 courses can be developed.
It will also support the Skills Factory’s other work, including giving free expert advice to companies looking to take on apprentices, and setting up a network of volunteer business advisers to visit schools across the region and give careers advice, helping to bridge the gap between education and employment.
Based on Dudley Road in Brierly Hill, the Skills Factory targets five key sectors for skills development – advance manufacturing, transport technologies, construction, environmental technologies and business services. The transformation of these sectors is seen as key to growing employment in the region.
Stewart Towe, Black Country LEP Chair, was delighted by the funding news, applauding the Skills Factory’s ability to develop skills training that is responsive to the region’s economy and that meets employers’ needs. Since 2013, the Black Country Skills Factory has worked with 450 companies, 40 schools and 189 apprenticeship programmes to deliver over 500 courses in the region.
Think Sandwell congratulates the Skills Factory on its additional funding and looks forward to sharing news of its future successes. To find out how we can help with apprentices and skills development, visit our Business Services pages.