£13m skills package unveiled

A £13m package of support has been launched to help people in Lancashire develop their skill levels and improve their employment prospects.

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched a new community grants scheme and re-commissioned three existing projects with the Education Skills Funding Agency.

The aim is to help around 8,000 people move into employment, apprenticeships or further training or progress in work between now and July 2021.

All the initiatives are funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). The LEP says the Access to Employment, Moving On and Skills Support for the Workforce projects have been re-commissioned after a successful three years.

Since 2016 they have supported a total of 8,500 people and worked with 800 businesses in the county. The three programmes delivered £27m of support in total.

Dennis Mendoros, LEP director who chairs the ESIF Committee, which has oversight of the ESF programme in Lancashire, said: “We deliver some of the most successful ESF projects in the UK.

Lancashire delivers some of the most successful ESF projects in the UK.

Over the past three years, they have made a significant difference to many people’s lives in Lancashire, helping thousands of local people to learn new skills and improve their job prospects.

He added: “They are an essential part of the LEP’s strategy to drive economic growth and job creation, particularly in key sectors like construction, manufacturing, financial and professional services, creative and digital and health and social care.

Under the new community grants scheme, the LEP has made available a £780,000 pot to support projects that help with work skills, taster work experience or training, advice and counselling.

Community based organisations will be able to apply for small grants worth £20,000 over four funding rounds through to May 2021.