fbpx Skip to Content

Workforce for the Future

Workforce for the Future 2021-01-22T08:19:37+00:00

The West of England is a place where ideas flourish and businesses grow, where creative, digital and high-tech meet traditional industry. We know that in the future technology will be doing things we haven’t even dreamt of yet, and this will shape the careers available to future generations. Our Local Industrial Strategy sets out a plan to prepare our region for the future, and in conjunction with the Employment and Skills Plan ensures that our diverse workforce has the skills, talent and experience to meet the needs of the evolving economy/ developing industries. 

Workforce for the Future is an £8m programme – co-funded by the West of England Combined Authority and the European Social Fund (ESF) – that will work with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them develop their future workforce, meeting their current and future needs. 

The programme

Digitalisation and new technology is creating new opportunities and allowing businesses to reach new markets and customers, become more efficient and sustainable, and find new avenues for growth. To keep ahead of the competition, businesses need to adapt and evolve – and so does your workforce. Your employees will need to be equipped with new skills, knowledge and experience to enable your business to evolve and thrive into the future.

Workforce for the Future is a skills analysis and development programme for SMEs. Designed to help you identify your current and future skills needs, we’ll pair you with 1 or more of our key partners to review and build the current skillsets of your employees. You’ll get technical skills, recruitment and training strategies, and action plans so your business can deliver its strategic ambitions with a strong, resilient and adaptable workforce. We’ll also give you access to training, resources and funding to develop your employees. We can also connect your business with education providers to shape the West of England’s talent pool, ensuring our region is equipped to meet the needs of tomorrow.


From the business perspective, Workforce for the Future’s lasting impact will be an improved skills system that businesses can understand and use.  New tools, case studies and mentor businesses will also emerge that can help other organisations on the programme.  For more information click here.


By involving SMEs, Workforce for the Future can also help individual learners to make progress, giving them useful work-based experiences.  Individual projects on the programme might work with specific groups of people, for example those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds or those from particular neighbourhoods, whilst maintaining the focus of their support on the SME.  For more information click here.

Applying for funding

Become a delivery partner to provide support to SMEs. Click through to see how you can apply for funding.

Workforce for the Future will operate a funding call process to allocate funding to projects that are seeking to provide workforce and skills support to SMEs. For more information on the types of projects sought and the timings of funding calls, details can be found here

The Workforce for the Future programme will operate until autumn-2023 under Investment Priority 2.2 of the European Social Fund Operating Programme. Definitions can be downloaded here.

The project has received £4m of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.