Expansion of Metro Mayor’s skills service goes live

An expansion of the Liverpool City Region Mayor’s award-winning Be More apprenticeships portal has today gone live with training grants totalling £4.5m.

It is part of an ambitious £9.4m training and careers programme that will help plug skills gaps and support up to 10,000 people across Liverpool City Region (LCR) this year.

The website was launched in 2019 as the UK’s first UCAS-style apprenticeship portal as part of Mayor Steve Rotheram’s ambitious skills agenda.

It is now being expanded to create a single port of call for employers, individuals and providers.

From 25 March, businesses across Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral looking to help upskill workers and jobseekers of all ages can visit the site and apply for funding.

Up to £4.5m in grants will be distributed by the end of 2022 – supporting 1,500 businesses and helping 10,000 people to learn fresh skills or find new careers.

Of this, £2m will go towards fully funded training for employees to tackle skills shortages in 19 designated areas, divided into leadership and management, basic business skills, soft support skills, and hospitality.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “Good training opportunities and independent career advice can have a life-changing impact on young people’s futures, putting them on the right path to employment and equipping them with the life skills they’ll need as they move forward in their career.

“Giving local businesses access to a pool of ambitious, enthusiastic workers and jobseekers will be vital in helping us to plug the growing skills gaps that hold our economy back. For too long, too many people in our region have been prevented from fulfilling their true potential, held back not by a lack of ambition, but a lack of opportunity. Be More is an important tool to help put that right.

“Whether they are just starting out in their career, or are on the hunt for a new challenge, I want to give every person in our city region a promise of hope. Be More will help us to do just that – by connecting thousands of people in our city region with the jobs and training they need to succeed.”

The LCR Skills and Apprenticeship Hub has been operating since January 2020, thanks to £3.96m from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and, in November of that year, a £5.45m investment by the European Social Fund (ESF).

It was created to build key skills in the city region after employers reported serious skills gaps that were preventing growth.

The hub offers business engagement with CA Business Skills Brokers, apprenticeship support through the Be More portal and improved training delivery via partnership working with the Greater Merseyside Learning Provider Federation.

Following a survey in June 2021, a Priority Support Framework was drawn up to address historic skills gaps.

As a result, fully funded priority training will be provided in the areas of leadership and management, basic business skills, soft support skills, and hospitality.

This has been broken down into 19 key careers areas, including IT skills, import and export training, mental health first aid, hospitality management & customer service skills.

Up to 100% of funding can be provided for priority training, thanks to the ringfencing of £2m. Employers across the LCR can register their interest in the fully funded priority training via this link

LCR-based employers are also eligible to apply for training grants worth up to 70% of the cost of training, depending on the size of the organisation by number of employees. Employers can register their interest here

Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool and Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Education, Skills, Equality and Diversity, said, “This project is vitally important to help tackle the shortage of skills that holds back our residents, offering them the opportunity to reach their potential.

“Getting a job, training or apprenticeship is absolutely life changing but too often we hear of people who find it hard to access opportunities.

“This project will help employers fill the skills gaps and is absolutely fundamental to making sure people of all backgrounds and ages are given a helping hand on to the employment ladder.”

Image: Steve Rotheram and apprentice Luke McGovern – Mecycle, Ainsdale

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