Stoke Staffs LEP

ESIF ESF delivery programme


Funding from The European Social Fund (ESF) plays a key role in supporting the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (SSLEP) priorities to raise skills levels and stimulate business growth.

It is the intention that the effective use of ESF funding will unlock the potential of the current and future local workforce through a demand-driven approach to providing skills and matching those skills to employment opportunities. SSLEP and its partners are committed to delivering ESF programmes that will ensure all residents, regardless of their personal circumstances, are included and can start on a journey to sustainable employment.

Programmes commissioned through three opt in organisations (the National Lottery Community Fund NLCF, Education Skills Funding Agency ESFA and the Department for Work & Pensions DWP) as part of a package of contracted programmes totalling £37m, support residents who are furthest from the job market with multiple barriers to those who are currently in employment but may need to develop higher level skills to progress further within their employment.

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The NLCF programmes support those unemployed individuals who are furthest from the job market and most at risk of social exclusion through a variety of specialist support including confidence building, coaching, personal development, training and jobsearch. The three prime providers delivering the programme across the region are Steps to Work, Ixion and Business Enterprise Support.

The ESFA programmes provide a wide range of support from engagement and outreach activities to higher level skills development, these are delivered across the region through four prime providers; Skills Training UK offer support to individuals who are NEET, Peopleplus offer support to unemployed individuals, The Community Foundation for Staffordshire provide community grants to organisations moving people closer to the labour market and Serco offer skills support to both employed individuals and those who are under threat of redundancy.

The DWP Work Routes programme delivered by Reed in Partnership provides tailored support for unemployed and economically inactive residents who are not fully supported by existing employment programmes, to improve employability skills and work readiness activity with the aim of sustaining employment outcomes.

Staffordshire Chamber is also developing the ESF funded Skills Hub. The Skills Hub will be a key source of labour market intelligence for employers to inform skills commissioning and improve careers guidance.

The Skills Hub Brokerage Service within the Skills Hub will provide key services in relation to ensuring that employers are supported to access relevant skills support/workforce development activities. This includes the identification of skills gaps to better position these businesses to diversify into new markets, adopt new technologies, and create more jobs.


  • The projects received funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit

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