City region training fund offers firms £4.5m

Firms across Liverpool city region can now access a new £4.5m fund that offers grants for training that will plug skills gaps. Tony McDonough reports

skills, training, mechanic, work apprentice, apprenticeships
Liverpool city region firms can now access a £4.5m skills fund


Liverpool city firms can now get easy access to a £4.5m fund that will offer grants for training.

An expansion of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Be More apprenticeships portal has gone live in the last 24 hours. It is part of an ambitious £9.4m training and careers programme that to help plug skills gaps and support up to 10,000 people in 2022.

Be More apprenticeships was launched in 2019 as the UK’s first UCAS-style apprenticeship portal as part of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s skills agenda. It is now being expanded to create a single port of call for employers, individuals and providers.

From March 25, businesses across Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral looking to help upskill workers and jobseekers of all ages can visit the site and apply for funding. Up to £4.5m in grants will be distributed by the end of 2022 – supporting businesses and helping people to learn fresh skills or find new careers.

Of this, £2m will go towards fully-funded training for employees to tackle skills shortages in 19 designated areas, divided into leadership and management, basic business skills, soft support skills, and hospitality.

Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool and Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Education, Skills, Equality and Diversity, said: “This project is vitally important to help tackle the shortage of skills that holds back our residents, offering them the opportunity to reach their potential.

READ MORE: Skills brokers boost city region firms to the tune of £43m

“Getting a job, training or apprenticeship is absolutely life changing but too often we hear of people who find it hard to access opportunities. This project will help employers fill the skills gaps and is absolutely fundamental to making sure people of all backgrounds and ages are given a helping hand on to the employment ladder.”

The LCR Skills and Apprenticeship Hub has been operating since January 2020, thanks to £3.96m from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and, in November of that year, a £5.45m investment by the European Social Fund (ESF). It was created to build key skills in the city region after employers reported serious skills gaps that were stifling growth.

The hub offers business engagement with CA Business Skills Brokers, apprenticeship support through the Be More portal and improved training delivery via partnership working with the Greater Merseyside Learning Provider Federation.

Mr Rotheram added: “Good training opportunities and independent career advice can have a life-changing impact on young people’s futures, putting them on the right path to employment and equipping them with the life skills they’ll need as they move forward in their career.

Up to 100% of funding can be provided for priority training, thanks to the ringfencing of £2m. Employers across the LCR can register their interest in the fully funded priority training via this link.

City region-based employers are also eligible to apply for training grants worth up to 70% of the cost of training, depending on the size of the organisation by number of employees. Employers can register their interest here.

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