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Applying for funding

Through Workforce for the Future we provide funding for a number of specialist delivery partners who can help our region’s small businesses better understand and engage with the skills system. The Workforce for the Future programme will run a number of funding calls to identify these partners.

Key questions

Workforce for the Future operates under Investment Priority 2.2 of the national European Social Fund Operating Programme.

All projects on the programme will need to deliver a single European Social Fund output as follows: Number of supported micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) [including co-operative enterprises and enterprises of the social economy] with 75% of those SMEs successfully completing projects (which increase employer engagement; and/or the number of people progressing into or within skills provision) – view definitions.

You can find more information on the programme in the overview and more about the example activities here.

Currently there are no plans to seek further providers to help deliver the Workforce for the Future programme.

Applications in the previous two funding rounds were sought from individual organisations or consortia/partnerships.  Applicants were required to demonstrate an understanding of the current skills system, apprenticeships, internships and placements.

A range of project were sought that varied in size and delivery timescales.  Applicants did not need to be based in the West of England region however projects and its impact needed to be regionally focussed and applicants were required to demonstrate an understanding of the issues specific to our region and comprehensively cover plans to deliver and engage in the region.

The Combined Authority reviewed all submitted bids against these criteria:

  • ESF eligibility: for the project and the bid organisation(s)
  • Support of key values: including equality and diversity and sustainability
  • Strategic fit: whether the proposal supports the Local Industrial Strategy and Employment and Skills Plan objectives
  • Value for money: the cost of support to deliver the work and the level of support needed
  • Management and governance: partners involved, work needed, and the processes to monitor and record this
  • Deliverability: timeframe, engagement activities , and long-term impact
  • Other: State Aid considerations, due diligence

An internal team reviews the bids which then go to the Combined Authority’s Chief Executive Office Panel for approval.

Funding will run until 2023. Any activities the funding supports should be complete by September 2023 and all financial claims should be submitted by December 2023, at the latest.

View full details of the projects we currently fund in our project list.

A minimum of 471 SMEs need to be supported through the Workforce for the Future programme, with 354 of those completing a meaningful project and 1062 learners benefitting.