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Issue 2 | August 2014
Bridgwater College wins £1.7m Skills Fund for Hinkley - click here for more information.

About the Skills Newsletter
Produced by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership's People Group, this monthly newsletter aims to keep people informed of current news and activity.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnershp is a strong and dynamic partnership between the private sector, local authorities, universities and further education across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset, and Torbay with the purpose of leading and influence economic growth, job creation and prosperity across the Heart of the South West.

Welcome to the second Heart of the South West (HotSW) Skills Newsletter.

This edition looks at some of the projects recently approved under the Local Response Fund, with the support of the Employment and Skills Boards.

The Local Response Fund - a total of £377,000 of European Social Fund money - was awarded to the area last year for skills based projects.

The aim of the Fund is to address LEP skills priorities and is ring fenced for projects that answer identified skills needs across the area.

To read more about the Local Response Fund, please visit the LEP website.

In addition, we've also included information about the Skills for Growth project and a new project development fund.

Please contact us if you'd like anything to be included in future editions of the newsletter.

Rachel Davies
Chair, HotSW LEP People Group, LEP Board member and Principal, Somerset College.

Level 4 Training

One of the projects funded by the Local Response Fund is a Level 4 training project. 

The project will provide training to Retail, Hospitality, Care, Food Manufacture, Sport & Leisure and Logistics businesses across the Heart of the South West area.

The aim is to develop staff expertise and ability, by providing training on leadership, management and coaching programmes. 

Learners will benefit from working with their peers from other industries, as well as from specialists in their sector.

Providers across the area have been invited to submit an expression of interest to deliver the project - these are currently being assessed and the project will launch in September.

To find out more, please contact Somerset Skills and Learning.

Skills for Seasonal Workers

In North Devon and Torridge the Local Response Fund is launching a new project to develop customer service skills for seasonal workers in the area.

Run by North Devon+ and the Employment & Skills Board in conjunction with Education+Training Skills, the project will offer 20 in-work training opportunities for local businesses to develop customer service.

The bite sized training is delivered in the work place over a twelve week period and is worth up to £1,250. It's available to sole traders or their employees aged 19+ in the North Devon & Torridge area.

The project has been developed following the area's employer skills survey last year, where local employers identified customer service skills as a priority, stating that this particular skills gap had lost them business or orders to competitors.

For further information please visit the Northern Devon Employment and Skills Board website.

Somerset Employers Skills Survey

Using funding from the Local Response Fund, Somerset County Council has commissioned the Somerset Employers Skills Survey. 

This in-depth survey will provide a better understanding of workforce skills needs throughout Somerset.

The survey will engage with around 400 employers across Somerset and provide a representative sample of industry sectors in the area.

Questions will cover employer views on workforce development, apprenticeships, young people, as well as training provision and higher level skills.

The survey findings will be used as evidence to ensure future funding for workforce skills is directed to the areas employers highlight as most important.

The project, worth around £15k, is taking place over the summer, with telephone surveys happening in August and an event taking place in September to present the findings and identify next steps.

If you are an employer and are interested in taking part in the survey please call 01823 359279 or email

Skills for Growth

Alongside the Local Response Fund, there is also a programme called 'Skills for Growth' which aims to develop the skills of employees within small and medium sized businesses in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.

Co-funded by the Skills Funding Agency and ESF, Skills for Growth projects can support employers and employees with the following:
  1. identifying workforce training needs to help businesses grow
  2. a flexible package of qualifications and training solutions to support businesses
  3. a wide choice of training and qualifications
  4. workplace training
  5. advice and guidance to support continuing development
To find out more, please visit the Skills For Growth website or call 01823 338683.

Building Better Opportunities – Project Development Fund

A fund of up to £10,000 has been secured for the Heart of the South West area to support the Community and Voluntary Sector (CVS) in applying for EU funding.

The Big Lottery Fund is planning to allocate around £260m of Lottery funds alongside a similar figure of ESF money to support communities and people most in need across England.

As part of this, Big Lottery Fund has set up development funding in a number of LEP areas across the country, ahead of the main funding becoming available from 2015.  The aim is to ensure that community and voluntary organisations are supported and understand the opportunity and considerations surrounding bidding to deliver EU funds.

In the Heart of the South West area a Project Development Fund of up to £10,000 has been set up.

Big Lottery Fund are now seeking a CVS organisation to provide this support for the Heart of the South West area.  The deadline for applications is 2pm, Thursday 4 September 2014 - to find out more about the development fund, please visit

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