£5.5m projects to boost digital skills

Cabinet will be asked to accept grant funding of almost £1m towards the cost of a new digital skills programme which will boost employees’ personal and workplace productivity helping people progress in their careers.  

Cabinet members will be asked at their meeting on Wednesday 16 December to accept funding of £947,277 from the European Social Fund (ESF) towards the £5.5m project called Digital Boost. This will be bolstered by £2.2m of match funding from project partners and a £429,405 investment from Barnsley Council.

Digital Boost will provide a flexible digital skills offer for working people which is comprehensive, fully accessible and flexible in delivery.

Barnsley Council submitted a project proposal for £3.3 million ESF funding as the lead partner in a South Yorkshire consortium with partners Barnsley College, RNN who cover Rotherham, Sheffield Council delivering in Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. If approved by cabinet the council will enter a contract with DWP to manage the project on behalf of the partners.

Digital Boost will engage employed people right across the borough. Support will include to those in vulnerable jobs such a zero hours contracts where employers sometimes don’t support workforce development, as well as people for whom home life or other responsibilities, or changing shifts, prevent traditional access to learning.   

Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place (Regeneration and Culture) said: “The ongoing pandemic creates strains in all areas of our lives, not least the economy, and equipping local people with the skills needed to help them succeed in work is vitally important.

“We know that even before the pandemic employers were facing challenges due to gaps in digital skills among the workforce.

“Digital Boost will give us a win-win. It will empower local people to broaden their skills and open up opportunities for career progression and help them move into higher-paid roles.

“At the same time, this up-skilling of local people will improve productivity within our economy, helping companies thrive and adapt in a changing world.”

The programme is expected to launch next year. It will be publicised and details will be available at enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk/support-for-employment/

For more information see the cabinet report here.

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