Background Information – 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 material 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 second call has now closed (deadline was 19 March 2021). There are currently no plans to run a further call, but if this changes, it will be posted on this page.
To submit a bid the application form should be used. Only bids submitted on this application form will be considered. The application form is in two parts, Stage 1: Expression of Interest and Stage 2: Full Application. For projects that are at an early stage in their planning and in particular where there has been no prior engagement or discussion with WECA we suggest that the Stage 1 Expression of Interest form is completed initially – this will allow for WECA to assess the proposal at a high level and ascertain what, if any, support or linkages to other consortia is required in working the proposal up to Full Application. For an editable copy of the application form please email – email@example.com
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 WECA’s Skills Advisory Panel for them to consider and make recommendations for approval to WECA’s Chief Executive Officer Panel and/or WECA Committee.
Funding will run until 2023 with any activities the funding supports being completed and all financial claims submitted by December 2023 at the latest.
A list of supported projects can be found here