£2m fund will help plug skills gap in South West

Hundreds of people in the West of England will be supported to get new skills and progress in work thanks to a brand-new £2m programme designed to plug skills gaps in the region.

Organisations of all sizes – from traditional training providers of all types, to community and voluntary groups – can apply for cash grants from the Mayoral Combined Authority to provide a broad range of schemes with a focus on areas of high demand, and priority skills needs and areas for Mr Norris, and the West of England region.

This 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.

Meanwhile, organisations large and small are encouraged to apply for funding to run programmes of support to help the long-term unemployed back into work, as well as courses which will support young people in need of a helping hand to get skills needed to pursue careers in key West of England sectors like the creative and digital industries – all with high job vacancies.

West of England  mayor Dan Norris says  in an era of labour shortages – in the West, and nationwide – the focus of jobs and skills provision must change.

He said: “Wherever I go, companies of all sizes tell me they can’t fill all their vacancies. 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. That is what my ‘Priority Skills Fund’ is all about.”

Hundreds of locals will benefit from this boost to skills training, helping them secure good jobs. It will also provide a boost to local areas, filling skills black holes wherever they are as well as top employers who will have workers with the specific skills they need.

Dan Norris added: “Skills and training are a really important part of my role as Metro Mayor. I’m proud of this £2m fund from my Mayoral Combined Authority which will go a long way to plugging skills gaps in key priority areas for my West of England region. This in turn means more talented local people accessing good-quality, well-paid secure jobs, while ensuring our West of England, and its residents can face for the future with confidence.”