Major skills investment agreed by West of England Combined Authority
£4.5m will be invested in improving skills to benefit residents and businesses by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
At its meeting on Friday September 28, WECA agreed to establish a skills innovation fund. This will support a further bid for £4m from the European Social Fund to create an overall £8.5m pot, for activities to link small and medium-sized businesses with the right talent, creating new employment opportunities for residents.
Proposals for three new Talent Institutes also took a step forward after WECA agreed to fund a £100,000 feasibility study to explore their potential. The aim is to create nationally-recognised centres of excellence to drive business innovation and employment support. Talent Institutes would seek build on activities already happening in the region and involve organisations delivering in this area.
Tim Bowles, Mayor of the West of England, said: “This is great news – we have many high-quality jobs and we need to give locally-grown talent every opportunity to secure employment, by making sure they have the right skills for our businesses.
“I’m looking forward to seeing plans for the talent institutes develop. These would replicate best practice from around the world, where multiple businesses come together to interact, collaborate and learn. They would help make businesses more effective – generating new products that are marketplace-ready and employing, directly and indirectly, a diverse and productive workforce. The Talent Institutes could also connect with and inspire those furthest from employment.”