Latest update on ESF provision

Future Open Calls Research and Releases of New Calls

The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) recently reviewed the development of future European Social Fund (ESF) Open Call specifications.  Within the LLEP area’s allocation of ESF there are remaining resources available to support people into employment, boost skills levels and support social inclusion.

The LLEP worked with consultants S4W Ltd. to research the need and likely demand for future ESF activity to inform the proposed release of a series of Calls for Activity during the Autumn of 2017 with activity to start in 2018.

Consultation events took place in June and July 2017 to enable stakeholders, partners and organisations involved in the delivery of current ESF projects, and other skills providers, to understand and comment on key changes to the local labour market since the original EU Structural and Investment Funds Strategy was produced in 2014 and to have an input into the priorities for, and content of, any future calls for activity.

An online survey was also open for feedback.

A final report on the research has been produced and is available on:

Future ESF calls are being scoped and will be released from Autumn 2017 onwards.

Two Open calls have been released in October 2017:

Leadership & Management – Request for Outline Application opened on 18th October 2017 – 10th January 2018

INVESTMENT PRIORITY 2.1 – Business Leadership and Management Training – Skills Needs and Workforce Planning

Ensuring the workforce has the right skills to support current and future growth of SMEs across Leicester and Leicestershire is a key priority, especially where it considerably improves the productivity of local businesses and generates more inclusive employment practices.  The activity will support business leaders and managers to effectively plan the skills, recruitment and retention needs of their business, improve the productivity of their workforce and ensure their future workforce needs can be met in times of low unemployment, including through adopting more inclusive recruitment practices.

Sector Growth – Request for Outline Application opened on 18th October 2017 – 10th January 2018

INVESTMENT PRIORITY 2.1 – Skills for Sector Led Growth

Developing the workforce skills of businesses in key growth sectors is a priority for the Strategic Economic Plan.  There have been a number of current and planned investments made in the skills infrastructure to support sector growth in Leicester and Leicestershire and LLEP are keen to ensure this activity is enhanced through providing opportunities for all employers across our key sectors to develop the skills of their workforce.  Our key sectors are under review and presently include the following, but this list is not exhaustive and as well as sectors that help drive GVA growth there are sectors such as retail and constructions which play a key economic role:

These have been released under the ESF Open Call process which is a 2-stage process – Outline Application and then if, once it is appraised by the Managing Authority and is endorsed by the ESIF Committee, the applicant will be invited to submit a Full Application.

To date, ESF contracts have been awarded as follows:

Under Investment Priority 2.1 Enhancing equal access to lifelong learning

ITT30055 Employees Support in Skills – (£5,454,500) – Skills Metro The contract has been awarded to Interserve (ESG Skills Ltd).

ITT30056 Employees Support in Skills –(£1,818,150) – Business and Enterprise Skills. The contract has been awarded to North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College.

ITT30057 Employees Support in Skills – (£1,818,150) – Leadership and Management. The contract has been awarded to Calderdale College.

Find out more on the above programmes in our section ‘Skills Support for the Workforce’ on


Under Investment Priority 1.2 The sustainable integration of young people

Entry to Employment Support £5,400,000 Opt-in (Department for Work and Pensions); the successful provider is Working Links.

Ex-offenders into Employment £908,800 Opt-in (Skills Funding Agency), successful provider Derby Business College, activity ongoing, the programme is called AIM (Achieve, Inspire, Motivate)

NEET Support £2,454,500 Opt-in (Skills Funding Agency), the successful provider is Prospects, activity is ongoing, the programme is called ‘Improve your Prospects’


Under Investment Priority 1.1 Access to employment for job seekers and inactive people

Employment Gateway £2,060, 500 Opt-in (Skills Funding Agency); the successful provider is Business 2 Business (UK)

Sector Based Initiatives £409, 000 Opt-in (Skills Funding Agency); the successful provider is Derby Business College

The LLEP is working with providers to add further information about each programme in the near future.


LLEP area Employment Hub open call

The aim of the Employment Hub is to make education and training provision more responsive to the needs of the local economy by meeting employers’ skills needs and equipping individuals with the skills they require for the world of work.

The Employment Hub will work directly with local businesses (especially SMEs) to increase the demand for apprenticeships, traineeships and work placements. It will also add capacity to and complement the work of the National Apprenticeship Service and local training agencies.

The total value of the Employment Hub specification is £2 million and the call for outline applications opened on November 9 2016 and closed on 18 January 2017. Applicants were informed of the decision on outline applications on March 15 2017.

One organisation has been selected to submit a full application by 14 June 2017. Project delivery will end by June 30 2020.