WECF – The Skills Fund

Introduction and Background

It is widely recognised that the UK will have a shortage of skilled people to meet the UK’s future employment needs. With this in mind, each year, up to £100,000 of the main Community Fund will be set aside for the “Skills Fund”.

The Skills Fund will be divided up into various strands, but its overall aim is to provide educational and learning opportunities for people within the Fund’s benefit area to help to improve their skills and employment opportunities.

The first £100,000 has now been allocated and has been divided into the following three strands:

1. Engineering Courses at Furness College

£45,000 has been awarded to Furness College in Barrow to help finance course fees for four specific Engineering qualifications. The courses, to start in September 2017, will be available to students that are struggling to find employment or want to retrain in an engineering discipline but who may struggle to self-finance the courses themselves.The courses available with support are:

  • National Diploma Electrical or Mechanical Engineering (2 years)
  • HNC Engineering Electrical or Mechanical Engineering (2 Years)
  • Batchelor in Engineering – Ordinary Degree (2 Years)
  • Batchelor in Engineering – Hons Degree (4 Years)

If you are interested in these courses and would like to find out if you’re eligible to apply for a grant to help finance your course fees please click on the links below:








2. The STEM Educational Fund

£35,000 has been awarded to the Royal Academy of Engineering for the Furness Education & Skills Partnership and Barrow Engineering Project. This follows a competitive bidding process which encouraged experienced organisations to apply for a grant to develop and deliver extra curriculum STEM training and/or education courses or a programme of targeted events for up to two years. Six very strong bids were received at the closing date of 30 August 2016, and therefore, deciding on which project to support was not easy!

The grant will allow the Royal Academy (through the project) to recruit a local Coordinator to deliver a range of activities to support STEM education and help build closer relationships between schools and employers over a two year period.

For further details about the project and how the grant will be used please click here

3. Hardship Grants

£20,000 has been split across three colleges to help support students facing financial difficulties in getting to college or paying for course materials etc.). The three colleges that will receive an equal share of the grant are:

Students looking for financial support should contact the colleges directly to identify whether they can apply.