The Offer

SkillWorks invests in the success of your business.
More than 7,000 Greater Merseyside businesses have already benefited.

SkillWorks has been one of the most successful programmes and as a result a further 15 million of ESF funding has been committed to extend the scheme until 31st July 2008. Funding is available from May 2007 to be allocated throughout Merseyside companies.

Every eligible business in Merseyside can benefit from a maximum of 60,000 towards specific training you need to meet your business objectives.

Who can access the funding?

Funding is dependant upon two factors: the location and size of your company.

  • If your business is classed as small to medium size (SME- up to 250 employees) you are eligible to benefit from up to 60% funding towards any training.
  • In order to access the funding your company must be located within the Merseyside Objective One, Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens or Wirral.
  • For businesses located in Halton please contact Train to Gain.

What will your business receive?

SkillWorks Training Providers are committed to ensuring that you receive;

  • An effective programme which is streamlined and enables maximum impact to be derived from your investment.
  • An efficient programme which is capable of meeting your company needs rapidly.
  • An accessible and understandable process which enables you to access support promptly and appropriately.
  • A simple, straightforward programme.
  • A cost effective process, providing you with access to all available resources.
  • A deliverable schedule, achieving all your targets.
  • Flexibility and choice in the selection of Training Providers and provision.

If you are interested in The SkillWorks please register now and the SkillWorks Gateway team will contact you to assign you to a SkillWorks training partner. If you would like independent advice on the most appropriate training for your workforce, we can put you in touch with the LSC; Train to Gain brokers who will offer you free impartial advice.

SkillWorks Training Providers also work with Train to Gain, an independent brokerage service, who will identify any further training that may benefit your company, particularly of Learning Skills Council core programmes.

If you are uncertain about which is the most appropriate training for your company, contact the Train to Gain brokerage, who will offer free impartial advice as to the optimum training provider for your business.

SMEs in Merseyside are eligible for SkillWorks

An SME is defined as a "small or medium-sized enterprise" and is any entity engaged in economic activity, irrespective of its legal form - including self-employed people, family businesses, partnerships and associations provided that it:

  • employs fewer than 250 people.
  • has a turnover of less than €50 million (about £35m) per annum or net balance sheet assets of less than €43 million (about £30m).
  • is an enterprise with less than 25 % of the capital or voting rights owned by another enterprise (or enterprises) which is not itself a SME. This threshold may be exceeded if the capital is held by public investment corporations, venture capitalist or institutional investors. An enterprise with 25 % or more of its capital or voting rights controlled by a public body is not a SME.

You may still be ranked as autonomous even if the 25% threshold is reached or exceeded by any of the following investors:

  • Public investment corporations, venture capital companies and business angels.
  • Universities and non-profit research centres.
  • Institutional investors, including regional development funds.
  • Autonomous local authorities with an annual budget of less than €10 million and fewer than 5,000 inhabitants.

Details and explanations of the new SME definition which took effect on 1/1/2005 are available in a User Guide published by the European Commission.

SkillWorks covers five Merseyside local authorities, eligible objective 1 postcodes are as follows:


L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L6, L7, L8, L9, L11, L12, L13, L14, L15, L16, L17, L18, L19, L24, L25, L27


L10, L26, L28, L32, L33, L34, L35, L36


L20, L21, L22, L23, L29, L30, L31, L37, L38, PR8, PR9


CH41, CH42, CH43, CH44, CH45, CH46, CH47, CH48, CH49, CH60, CH61, CH62, CH63

St Helens

WA9 1, WA9 2, WA9 3, WA9 4, WA9 5, WA10 1, WA10 2, WA10 3, WA10 4, WA10 5, WA10 6, WA11 7, WA11 8, WA11 9, WA11 10, WA12 0, WA12 8, WA12 9, WN4 0, WN5 7, L34 (part), L35 (part)

These postcodes are merely a guide, your geographical eligibility will be checked by providers. If you are having difficulties with The SkillWork's eligibility criteria do not hesitate to Contact Us to discuss your case. If you fulfill the eligibility criteria you can register immediately through this website.

Frequently Asked Questions

The SkillWorks understands that companies know their training needs and aims to develop the skills of the regional workforce by providing training on demand.

Want to know more? Here are just a few of the questions you might be asking.

Who provides the training?

That depends on what training your business needs. A number of training partners have been appointed by the LSC, who are responsible for meeting your requirements. They can either provide the training themselves or they will, at their discretion, sub-contract specialist trainers who meet their quality standards and provide value-for money.

Is all our training covered?

Broadly, yes. The main exception is that training must have added value where a qualification is a statutory requirement. Your training partner will clarify this with you.

Is delivery flexible?

SkillWorks is not about courses that are run at pre-determined locations and times. SkillWorks training partners will work with you to come up with a training programme that reasonably fits in with the realities of business life but can be achieved within a sensible budget. To date, more than 19,000 individual training projects have been completed.

What if I need several different people trained?

It makes no difference if you need one employee or your entire workforce trained. And, as far as possible a single training partner will be responsible for meeting all your needs.

Are qualifications involved?

While training doesn't necessarily lead to a qualification, we do believe that working towards achieving national or industry standards established in formal qualifications can often play a useful part in improving workforce skills. Your training partner will be able to advise you on a range of options and additional support available from the Learning and Skills Council. Over 9000 individual qualifications have been achieved since the SkillWorks was launched.

Applicants do not need to have any current qualifications to access the programme.

What do I have to pay?

All businesses are eligible for a 60% grant. You have to pay your share as a cash contribution and not through, for example, making facilities available or paying salaries.

Are there limits to the amounts?

Yes, any individual SME cannot receive more than £60,000 from the SkillWorks programme.. We do reserve the right to review any proposed training programme for "value for money" to ensure that other businesses are not deprived.

If you have already received SkillWorks funding this amount is taken into account in determining the balance you may qualify for.

Is there a lot of bureaucracy involved?

We try do try to keep the paperwork to a minimum. It is a condition of the Learning and Skills Council and the European Social Fund that SMEs provide certain basic information about their business and the learners on the training programmes. Your SkillWorks training partner will help with the information required.


The SkillWorks funding is available now and is scheduled to end in July 2008. If you are having difficulties with SkillWorks eligibility criteria do not hesitate to Contact Us to discuss your case.

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