£2m fund launched to plug skills gaps across the West of England – from chefs to welders

August 4, 2023

Bristol employers are being invited to take part in a new £2m programme that will support hundreds of individuals across the West of England to learn new skills.

The scheme, launched by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), is designed to plug the skills gaps in the region that are slowing the growth of many businesses.

The scheme includes courses to train up an army of retrofitters, electric vehicle mechanics and other workers needed as the region transitions to a net zero future along with initiatives to increase the take-up and completion of the hundreds of high-quality apprenticeships.

Organisations of all sizes – from employers and traditional training providers to community and voluntary groups – can apply for cash grants to provide a broad range of training schemes focused on areas of high demand and priority skills.

Funding will also be available to run programmes to support the long-term unemployed back into work, as well as courses for young people who need a helping getting the skills needed to pursue careers in key sectors such as the creative and digital industries that are suffering from large-scale job vacancies.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris, who leads WECA, said in an era of labour shortages the focus of jobs and skills provision must change.

“Wherever I go, companies of all sizes tell me they can’t fill all their vacancies,” he said.

“That’s the case whether we are talking welders, chefs or electricians.

“The truth is there are plenty of jobs out there, and in some key sectors as well – it’s my job as Mayor to make sure local people have the right skills to benefit from them, which in turn will help the West build on its strengths and develop new ones.”

The closing date for applications is 11 September. To apply, click here

Pictured above: Metro Mayor Dan Norris at a welding Skills Bootcamp at Bath College’s Radstock campus


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