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£12m skills fund to help SMEs get on the road to recovery

Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation, is urging SMEs in the West Midlands and Worcestershire to make use of a £12m skills fund, to help them upskill staff and get on the road to recovery from COVID-19.

The Supplier Skills Programme, which is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and managed by Birmingham City Council, offers businesses the opportunity to access grant funding to develop their workforce in a range of different skills. Grants are available from £500 to £18,000.

Make UK is a strategic partner of the programme, and can assist with the application process for a range of its accredited courses, both virtual and face to face. Subjects include: technical skills training, including robotics, welding and HNC/HND; leadership and management, including ILM and CMI; and health, safety and environment courses, including IOSH, NEBOSH and IOA.

The Supplier Skills Programme is open to SMEs which are:

  • Based within Birmingham, Solihull, Redditch, Wyre Forest and Bromsgrove
  • Able to match fund training costs (50 per cent by the SME, the remaining 50 per cent by the ESF)
  • All training must be accredited by the Ofqual Framework or recognised by industry and professional accrediting bodies.
  • The programme aims to upskill over 7,000 employees and will run until March 2023. 

Stephen Mitchell, Director of Apprentices and Technical Training at Make UK’s Technology Hub in Aston, Birmingham, commented: “Upskilling workforces has never been more important for business continuity and resilience; the Supplier Skills Programme is a great way to part-fund a range of courses which will help give businesses the vital edge as they negotiate their way to recovery from the effects of this pandemic.”

For more information on the training Make UK can provide, contact:

0808 168 5874 /

For more details of the programme itself, go to

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