CLOSED: Improving the labour market relevance of education and training systems in the GBSLEP Area (OC12S19P1364)

Call to run a project to increase higher skills levels, apprenticeships, enterprise skills and entrepreneurship with SME’s and micro businesses.

This call is now closed. Please do not submit an application for this call. The information provided on this page is for reference purposes only.


Seeking project(s) that will increase higher skills levels, apprenticeships, enterprise skills and entrepreneurship within the local business and employer community; particularly with SMEs and micro businesses.

We wish to address the higher level skills gap by providing support for and development of higher level skills to meet local employer needs, especially in our key growth sectors and technologies across the GBSLEP area. GBSLEP recognises that Higher Education curricula needs to be in touch with the local eco-system in order to jointly design projects and activities that prepare students to enter the workplace.

We invite proposals that will improve education and training provision, curriculum development and brokerage opportunities to be responsive to employers’ skills needs and that will support the transition for residents from education to work. We also encourage activities that improve employability, entrepreneurial and sector specific skills that enable residents to access Higher Level Apprenticeships, graduate level jobs, enter self-employment or launch new business start-ups.

We wish to encourage project proposals that:

  • increase access to conversion training and work experience opportunities;
  • enable students and graduates to acquire or enhance the employability; entrepreneurial and sector specific skills required by businesses;
  • address the skills needs of SMEs and micro businesses;
  • provide training and course content designed jointly by academia and business, to ensure that curricula enables students to get a job once they graduate;
  • place an emphasis on provision which supports Higher Level Apprenticeships and/or offer support which affords local micro-businesses and SMEs greater access to the range of skills that Higher Level Apprentices, Masters students and Post-graduates can contribute to help sustain business growth;
  • provide support for students and graduates to undertake work experience and develop their skills through work placements and internships, including progression into self-employment and new enterprise start-ups;
  • embed entrepreneurship in the curriculum;
  • explore the development of non-formal learning, collaborative learning, peer and eco-system learning;
  • pilot targeted, Higher Level Apprenticeships in specific areas of skills shortage;
  • provide focussed technical training to allow local people to compete for job opportunities in key growth sectors, in line with the GBSLEPs commitment to facilitating a ‘ladder of skills progression’ for all;

Target Audience: Activities should be focused on support to SME and micro-business organisations as the primary target audience, however applicants should also provide information in their Indicator Annex on the total number of participants expected to benefit from the project as a consequence of the ESF project support to SME organisations. Performance of the ESF Project(s) will then include monitoring against the individual participant target (ESF Output Target O1) as well as the relevant SME Output and Result targets.

For more information, download the call specification.


The project must cover the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP Area.


Approximately £3,200,000 of ESF funding is available.


Full application deadline: 03 July 2019.

Completion date

The project must be completed no later than 3 years and 6 months after the proposed start date.

How to apply

To apply for funding under this call you will need to complete and send the Full Application form to the email address provided in the call document. The guidance provides information to help you complete the form.

You are also advised to read the details in the call documents in order to produce an application that complies with the requirements and meets the needs set out in the Operational Programme. All this information, the related guidance and the European Social Fund Operational Programme can be found from our homepage.

Where to send completed applications

Completed Full Applications must be submitted to

Failure to send completed applications to this email address by the deadline in the call specification will be ineligible for consideration.

Contact details

Contact with queries linked to accessing or using the specification, forms, guidance etc. No applications are to be sent to this email address. Completed applications must be sent to the email address provided in the ‘Where to send completed applications’ section above / Section 9 of the Call Specification.

Published 10 April 2019
Last updated 4 July 2019 + show all updates
  1. Improving the labour market relevance of education and training systems in the GBSLEP Area (OC12S19P1364) project call is now closed.
  2. First published.