West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges
Business eligibility

To be eligible for 40% ESF funding towards the cost of training the business must:

  • Be an SME based within the Leeds City Region. This includes the following districts - Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York. This can include Private Limited Companies, Partnerships and LLPs, Sole Proprietors, Self Employed and Registered Charities.
  • Employ fewer than 250 full time equivalent staff and have an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million.
  • Put forward participants who work for the company based within the Leeds City Region and are aged 18 years or over.
  • Operate in the following sectors - Creative and Digital, Finance and Business, Hospitality and Tourism, Low Carbon and Construction, Manufacturing and Engineering, Retail*, Health and Social Care* or Medical Technology.
  • Contribute 60% of the total cost of the training.
  • Not be employers in the following sectors/areas: Hair and Beauty, Voluntary Sector, Public Sector including NHS and Hospitals.

*Provision/training which is specific to the Retail and Health and Social Care – additional eligibility criteria applies. Please refer to a Skills Advisor.

Eligible training

Below are the types of activity that could be eligible for funded support through The Skills Service:

  • accredited training
  • short courses
  • units or modules of training
  • bespoke training
  • e-learning/online/distance learning
  • higher level courses where they are not funded by OfS (Office for Students formerly HEFCE).

Examples of higher level courses NOT funded by OfS include; PRINCE2, AAT, ACA, ACCA and other accountancy qualifications, advanced CAD, Chartered institute of Marketing qualifications (levels 4-6), CIPD Certificates and Diplomas (levels 4-6), CIPS Certificated and Diplomas (levels 4-6), SAVA Diploma in Residential Property Surveying and other professional/industry qualifications not awarded by a HEI.

Non-eligible training
  • The Skills Service is not able to provide funding for:
    • Training/skill development that is in the current Government funded mainstream offer
    • Training/skills development that is fully funded from other sources
    • Apprenticeships
    • Higher Education training that is usually funded through OfS (Office for Students, formerly HEFCE)
    • Postgraduate courses
    • First degree courses
    • Foundation degrees
    • Higher National Diploma (HND) or Higher National Certificate (HNC)
    • Training that has commenced prior to approval
    • In-house training delivered by the company
    • Mandatory training or training that meets a clear legal requirement or is required for specific activities which the employer would usually pay for (statutory), for example manual handling and health and safety in the workplace
    • Primary forklift truck or HGV or PSV licenses and Gas Safe registration/renewal.
    • Formal licenses to practice/operate
    The Skills Advisors can help signpost to other training and explore other opportunities using our wider network of partners and links within the education and training industry.
  • Please note guidance from ESF on funding
  • Source: DWP, 2015, European Social Fund: Operational Programme 2014-2020:
  • “ESF can be used to support skills at any level, but it is important that it complements and does not duplicate existing policies and provision. ESF will not subsidise training that would otherwise be funded by business or Government...ESF will not substitute for investment in training that would otherwise be funded by employers or individuals, or is a statutory requirement…It is not appropriate for ESF to be used to replace Government funded loans and grants, to meet the requirement that ESF should not be used to replace Government funding.”
  • To discuss your eligibility with a Skills Advisor please call 0113 235 4460.
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