Fund­ing pot opens to boost county’s skill set

The Wokingham Paper - - BUSINESS - By JOHN WAKEFIELD

A FUND­ING pot aimed at help­ing busi­nesses grow the county’s eco­nomic po­ten­tial has been launched by the

Thames Val­ley Berk­shire LEP.

There are four dif­fer­ent fund­ing groups, each funded by the Euro­pean So­cial Fund, and have a com­bined value of more than £2.6 mil­lion.

£530,000 is avail­able for a Skills Sup­port for the Work­force project to sup­port ac­tiv­i­ties that help to up­skill Berk­shire’s work­force

£992,000 Skills Sup­port for the Un­em­ployed fund is avail­able for projects that help the county’s long-term un­em­ployed to gain ac­cess to train­ing and job op­por­tu­ni­ties

£212,000 to sup­port young peo­ple at risk of dis­en­gag­ing in ed­u­ca­tion

£936,000 to cre­ate a Berk­shire Com­mu­nity Grants pro­gramme

The ap­pli­ca­tion process for the fund­ing is open un­til Mon­day, Septem­ber 17 and the pro­grammes will be de­liv­ered from April 1 next year.

Each Call spec­i­fi­ca­tion is avail­able on the Thames Val­ley Berk­shire LEP’s web­site.

The funds have been wel­comed.

Huw Ed­wards, Chair of the TVB Euro­pean Struc­tural In­vest­ment Funds sub­com­mit­tee, said: “Berk­shire has one of the most suc­cess­ful labour mar­kets in the UK, but be­low the sur­face there are sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges in meet­ing the econ­omy’s need for tal­ent, skills and labour, now and in the fu­ture.

“Skills short­ages are acute.

“There is more that can be done to close the gap be­tween the worlds of ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment and there is a grow­ing recog­ni­tion of the need for in­di­vid­u­als to be in ‘good work’. The LEP is com­mit­ted to in­clu­sive eco­nomic growth, which is why we are in­vest­ing in cre­at­ing sus­tain­able jobs through pro­grammes funded by the Euro­pean So­cial Fund.”

The LEP has al­ready in­vested in skills, ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment in Berk­shire with projects such as the Berk­shire Ap­pren­tice­ship Ser­vice, Worlds of Op­por­tu­nity (WOOP) which aims to close the STEAM skills gap.

It also helps with Dig­i­tal Gum, a scheme to help ap­pren­tices and re-launch­ers (such as re­turn to work par­ents) into dig­i­tal ca­reers.

Any part­ners or or­gan­i­sa­tions that may be in­ter­ested in part­ner­ship work­ing with the LEP is asked to com­plete a part­ner reg­is­ter on the LEP web­site.

For more de­tails, log on to www. thames­val­ley­berk­shire.co.uk/eu­ro­peanso­cial-fund.htm

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