Three schemes to boost skills training across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have been awarded more than £1.1 million.
The Marches Centre for Manufacturing and Technology (MCMT) in Bridgnorth has been awarded £736,771 for its Skills for Growth project from the European Social Fund (ESF) to ensure skills training meets the needs of business.
The University of Chester has been awarded £236,000 for its Building Skills and Growth Capacity project based at University Centre Shrewsbury, whilst Telford & Wrekin Council is receiving £210,000 for its Life Ready Work Ready project.
The awards come from a £42million pot of ESF funding allocated to the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to support investment in employment, skills and social inclusion across the region and to make sure education and training meets the needs of employers.
Matt Snelson, managing director of MCMT, said the Skills for Growth project would ensure a new generation of workers were equipped with the skills local employers required.
“This project will help small and medium sized businesses in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin to grow through assessing key skills development that is essential to the business.
“There are two themes to this project – building business skills for growth and then building skills for future employment. We will be engaging with SMEs through a series of informative events and conferences to increase skills in the workforce, to build training courses and identify the skills needed for the future and the existing barriers to development.”
The project would also help young people into engineering and apprenticeships through a series of STEM engagement through schools and colleges, he added.
The University Centre Shrewsbury project will help micro businesses and SMEs develop and retain highly skilled employees.
UCS’s Building Skills and Growth Capacity (BSGC) team will assess a company’s workforce and develop a tailored training plan based on the results.
“This funding helps to address one of the most pressing issues for local employers, namely how to upskill or reskill and retain highly skilled employees,” said Jonathan Britten, BSGC project manager at UCS.
UCS deputy provost Paul Kirkbright added: “This is an important addition to UCS’s support for local businesses. This new offer now allows the University to offer advice on building employee skills alongside existing projects for creating digital solutions and developing environmental science and technology.”
The Life Ready, Work Ready project delivered by Telford & Wrekin Council will also make sure that education and training meets the needs of business.
Key activities will include increasing work experience opportunities, work placements, traineeships, apprenticeships and graduate placements particularly through wider employer engagement involving supply chains.
It will also focus on ensuring local employers are informed about local education and training provision, activities to engage young people and develop their employability and vocational skills and enhancing links between schools and business.
The funding was awarded by DWP as the managing authority for ESF following a competitive bidding process.