Skills Capital Equipment Fund: new funding available now



Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP is inviting organisations across the LEP area to submit an application to access the second tranche of the Skills Equipment Fund. The first tranche awarded grants of £1.1m matched by £1.3m private contributions.

The £630,000 Skills Equipment Fund (SEF) will allow local employers and training institutions to submit bids to secure funding to purchase state of the art equipment and fund minor adaptations to accommodate the equipment, to enable the delivery of high quality and high level training programmes to support the growth in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s priority economic sectors.

The LEP’s focus is on advanced manufacturing & engineering and the priority sectors include:

  • Energy Generation: building on the long standing presence of GE in Stafford, ABB, Siemens Wind Power, GE Power Conversion and the sustainable energy programme centred around Stoke-on-Trent and beyond, to meet growing local and international demand by diversifying into geothermal, anaerobic digestion, biomass and energy-from-waste.
  • Auto-Aero: capitalising on the supply-chain opportunities emerging from global businesses such as JCB, Michelin, Jaguar Land Rover, Moog, and Zytek in our patch.
  • Medical Technologies: in which Keele University and its Science Park are internationally recognised leaders.
  • Agri-Tech: drawing on our agricultural backdrop and Harper Adams University on our border to capitalise on an increased global focus on food security and the agri-plant capacity at JCB.
  • Applied Materials: building upon our recognised heritage in metals and ceramics in both Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to exploit opportunities in polymers, ceramics, glasses and composites.

The full list of priority economic sectors are detailed in the Education Skills Strategy 2016-2020

The investment will enable local employers and training institutions to more readily respond to local training needs that support the need for equipment to up skill and reskill people in the LEP priority sectors.  This will enable the delivery of the following key activities

  • The expansion of a work-based talent pool of skills across the priority sectors by facilitating increased demand in apprenticeships and traineeship opportunities following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • Support the upskilling of the existing workforce particularly at levels 3 & 4.
  • Upskilling and retraining the unemployed and NEET young people to meet current opportunities in the priority sectors.
  • Responsive provision by developing a network of local providers and employers so that they are able to respond to employer training needs through the use of specialist industry standard equipment. 

Points to bear in mind if considering whether to submit an application:

  • Eligible organisations are defined as HE institutions, FE colleges and private training organisations, including employer providers that deliver in-house Apprenticeship programmes that are on the Register of Training Organisations and/or the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers and hold a direct contract with the Education Skills Funding Agency to deliver education and training. Or employers delivering Apprenticeship provision on site through a contract with an organisation that meets the former criteria
  • Providers will be expected to provide a minimum funding contribution equivalent to 50% of project value. That is, for every £1 from the SEF, an additional £1 invested.
  • The minimum grant value for SEF consideration will be £50,000 and the maximum grant value for SEF consideration will be £500,000.
  • Minor adaptations are only eligible for funding if they are specifically required to house the specialist equipment and the value of the adaptations does not exceed 20% of the grant request.
  • The aim of this Fund is to invest in specialist equipment and is not therefore to be used for standard items that may be provided/replaced from revenue costs. Eligible equipment is defined as any item that an eligible applicant is able to “capitalise” in its year-end accounts and has an extended lifetime of five years or more.

Click here for the application form, guidance document and appendices:

SSLEP SEF application form guidance v3

SSLEP SEF application form v3

Annex 1 – Skills Capital Project Monthly Expenditure Template

Annex 2 – College Financial_Plan_template_2017_v1.0_final

Annex 3 College Financial_Planning_Handbook_2017_GUIDANCE_v1

Annex 4 – Simplified Financial Plan template

Annex 5 – SFA-capital-guidance-for-completing-simplified-financial-plan-template

Annex 6 – Copy_of_Investment_Appraisal_CCIF_2013_-_Published_May_2013

Please complete this application in accordance with the Stoke & Staffordshire LEP Skills Equipment Fund guidance and return an electronic copy of the application form to  by close of business 10th August, 2018.

If you have any enquiries regarding the SEF application process or if you wish to have a pre-application discussion, please contact David Poole, Skills & Employability Team, tel. 01785 854058, email