Earlier today (29 April), OxLEP formally announced a call for proposals from education and training providers under the European Social Fund programme, ‘Driving Business Investment in Skills in Oxfordshire’.
The call seeks new and innovative approaches to engage and work with SMEs to invest in its workforce, as part of wider business strategies to drive economic recovery and rebuild market share and resilience and is a key component of Oxfordshire’s Economic Recovery Plan.
The impact of COVID-19 across the Oxfordshire economy has increased the need for businesses to invest in reskilling the county’s workforce and adapt to new market conditions created by the pandemic. Alongside this, Brexit has presented additional challenges for businesses to forward plan and consider how their operations need to respond in the new economic landscape.
The pandemic has highlighted:
- Disparities in, and between, sectors. For example; the visitor economy has seen significantly higher job losses whilst other sectors are struggling to recruit.
- The visitor economy (encompassing tourism, hospitality, retail, arts and culture) is the most-significantly affected by lockdown and – according to research – may not recover to pre-COVID levels until 2022/23 at the earliest.
- A business and cultural shift towards developing an enhanced online presence for customers and consumers, which requires a differing skill set.
- Opportunities for young people are severely impacted, including the provision of apprenticeships and other training programmes.
Supporting more employers to better engage with the skills infrastructure, to upskill their current workforce and to better engage the future workforce will be a vital part of Oxfordshire’s economic recovery.
To support this process and call for proposals, this morning, OxLEP hosted a supplier briefing for interested parties wishing to work with them on this project. The session was led by Ahmed Goga – Director of Strategy and Programmes at OxLEP – and also included a technical briefing on the specification from Joanne Wright from the DWP.
You can watch the event again below:
The value of this project call is approximately £1m of ESF. Projects must be financially completed (i.e. have a proposed Financial Completion Date) no later than 31 December 2023.
Further useful information:
- If you do not already have access to the ECLAIMS IT system, please request an ‘ECLAIMS External Access Form’ by emailing: [email protected]. You will need to request an External Access Form for each person in your organisation who requires access. It is your responsibility to ensure you request and activate your ECLAIMS access in sufficient time. We strongly advise that you obtain and activate your ECLAIMS access at least two weeks prior to the advertised call closure date, if not sooner.
- This is the general ESF e-mail address for technical queries: [email protected]