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Workforce for the Future – applying for funding

Workforce for the Future – applying for funding 2021-01-21T15:49:46+00:00


Workforce for the Future operates under Investment Priority 2.2 of the national European Social Fund Operating Programme – Improving the labour market relevance of education and training systems.

All projects on the programme will need to deliver a single European Social Fund output leading to a single result of – Number of supported micro, small and medium sized enterprises (including co-operative enterprises and enterprises of the social economy) with 75% of those Small and Medium Enterprises successfully completing projects (which increase employer engagement; and/or the number of people progressing into or within skills provision) – definitions can be seen here.

More information on the programme and what activities it can be used to support can be found in the programme overview presentation and also in the example activities document here.

Who can apply for funding

Our expectation is that projects will be delivered by numerous organisations (consortia) which together have good reach into business and an understanding of the current skills system, apprenticeships, internships and placements.  There is scope to support a range of projects at different scales, with some smaller projects perhaps taking particularly innovative approaches to improving the system.

Although organisations submitting bids don’t have to be based in the West of England region the intervention delivered should be regional (we appreciate some SMEs may have other locations nationally which may in turn benefit but the majority of the impact should be within the West of England), and an understanding of the issues specific to the region together with a comprehensive delivery and engagement strategy should be clearly demonstrated.

The Calls

WECA plan on running three Calls to establish projects that can deliver against the ESF and WECA funding requirements.  Details of the Call are listed below.

Call 1

Status: Closed


Call 2

Status: Pending, not yet open

Details of the types of projects sought will be published here when the call launches, likely to be early 2021/towards the end of 2020/21 financial year.


Call 3

Status: Pending, not yet open


Bids Submission

To submit a bid the application form should be used.  Only bids submitted on this application form will be considered.

Bid Approvals

WECA will review submitted bids against a set criteria including:

  • ESF eligibility – both against the project and the bid organisation(s)
  • Support of themes – including Equalities and Diversity, Sustainability and WECA values
  • Strategic Fit – links and support of the Local Industrial Strategy and Employment and Skills Plan objectives
  • Value for Money – cost of support per output and the level of support to be provided
  • Management and Governance – partners involved, outputs to be delivered and processes to monitor and record
  • Deliverability – timeframe, engagement activities and long term impact
  • Other – State Aid considerations, Due Diligence

An internal team will initially review the bids which will then be taken through to WECAs Skills Advisory Panel for them to consider and make recommendations for approval to WECAs Chief Executive Officer Panel and/or WECA Committee.

Funded Projects

Funding will run until 2023 with any activities the funding supports being completed and all financial claims submitted by December 2023 at the latest.

All funded projects can be viewed here.  The document details information such as the funded organisations, funding amounts, summary of the support offered, planned outputs, outcomes and benefits and ways in which the projects will ensure sustainability and equalities and diversity.