The European Social Fund supports employment and skills programmes as well as promoting economic, equality and social cohesion.

For the 2014-2020 phase ESF is worth an indicative £55m for the Stoke on Trent & Staffordshire area. The majority of ESIF funding for the LEP area is proposed to be accessed via three national opt-in programmes – Department for Work and Pensions, Skills Funding Agency and Big Lottery Fund. These opt-in organisations will be organising tendering opportunities at regular intervals inviting bids from eligible national and community delivery partners. For more information on the latest bidding calls and tendering opportunities under the opt-in programmes, please visit the website here.

The Staffordshire Technical Assistance Project aims to support the delivery of the 2014-2020 European Social Funds across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. This project is part-funded by the ESF.

The project; delivered by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council, Support Staffordshire and South Staffordshire College (Skills Staffordshire) will:

  • Provide ESF advisory support to project applicants (including those from the third sector) across Staffordshire to promote the development and delivery of compliant projects which meet the strategic needs of the programme area and maximise the programmes economic impact.

  • Provide support to ensure grant applicants develop a sound and consistent understanding of the complex regulatory requirements of the programme and to enable them to meet these requirements in project delivery.

  • Provide support to stakeholders and applicants to embed the cross cutting themes of environmental sustainability and equality of opportunity in activity funded through the ESF Programme.Give support which increases the capacity of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership to develop a consortia approach and align resources at the appropriate spatial level, due to

  • Give support which increases the capacity of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership to develop a consortia approach and align resources at the appropriate spatial level, due to activity being delivered across authority boundaries.

  • Play a key role in the effective coordination and delivery of the Opt-In organisations (Big Lottery, Skills Funding Agency and Department for Work and Pensions).

  • Read the latest ESF Technical Assistance newsletter here


Visit the government portal to see calls for ESF supported projects in Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire.

Apply Now


Visit the government portal to see requirements, guidance and publicity materials for organisations running projects funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds.

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Visit the government portal to see selection criteria and eligibility rules for the 2014 to 2020 European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund.

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When more information about operational programmes, application process and guidance we will post it here and release it in our ESIF updates for subscribers:

ESF provider event slides
LEP Technical Assistance Newsletter Edition 1
EU Skills Investment Plan Nov 2015
Commissioning Plan Launch Presentation (2)
ESIF ESF Delivery Programme
Final ESIF Delivery Matrix

The Skills Funding Agency are re-opening their register of training providers in February. This is the only way organisations can access SFA funding.

Following the introduction and implementation of the Public Contract Regulations in February 2015, which aim to make public procurement more accessible to small businesses, the SFA have updated their processes to comply with the regulations and deliver a simple and consistent approach to supplier selection.

The SFA operates a register of training organisations. This is the only market entry point for organisations who intend to operate within the SFA’s supply chain.

The Register opens again in February 2016. The following link details the process and gives guidance on what is expected of organisations for those new to the registration process. Organisations can also click here to sign up for weekly updates.

get regular updates with our newsletter