Council announces major skills funding provisions for SMES

Birmingham City Council has secured a major boost funding to help small businesses in Birmingham bounce back from the COVID crisis.

The Council has been awarded £12 million from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for the Supplier Skills Programme, a three-year programme designed to upskill new and existing employees within Small and Medium Enterprises (SME).

The programme aims to transform management expertise, workforce capability and capacity, providing essential tools to help SMEs sustain their performance and productivity.

The Supplier Skills Programme will offer training grants of £500 to a maximum of £18,000 per SME in the more developed area of the GBSLEP. It will upskill up to 7,030 new and existing employees by providing basic, level 2 and below and level 3+ training including Degree and Master’s level management and leadership skills qualifications.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Ward, said: "This is a challenging time for Birmingham businesses and we're doing everything we can to protect jobs and livelihoods across the city. This programme is key to improving business confidence, raising skills levels and helping small businesses recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“It will allow businesses to develop a ladder of progression for existing employees by increasing their skill levels and creating new opportunities for other employees.
“The Supplier Skills Programme will reduce the skills gap by ensuring greater alignment between the training needs of employees within SMEs and training providers. Moreover, it will complement existing national and regional provision. This new initiative will enhance the City’s existing SME business support activities across the GBSLEP area.
“Whilst we are also preparing an economic recovery strategy, this programme will enable us to deliver much needed support to enable SMEs to implement their skills training plans.”

Announcement of the funding for the programme comes at a time where the Council is preparing forward strategies related to economic recovery following the impact of COVID-19 on the city’s economy.

SMEs wishing to access the programme will be required to submit an application.

Further information on the application process can be found on the Council’s website.

The programme will be delivered in partnership with Make UK, SMMT Industry Forum, Creative Alliance, Kaplan Financial Services, UK Training and Birmingham Education Services.

The programme will run from Thursday 1 October 2020 until June 2023.

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