As Brexit looms ever larger, the UK is still tapping into EU funding to support a new scheme designed to boost digital skills training to small and medium businesses based in Yorkshire.
A Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) "call for projects" will use about £900,000 sourced from the European Commission’s European Social Fund for projects that can deliver innovative digital skills provision based on skills needs in the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding areas.
Successful bidders are expected to detail programmes that work to plug the skills gaps specific to these areas which are generally more rural than urban, with said small and micro businesses accounting for over 97% of all businesses.
The first investment priority for applicants is how to expand digital skills. Bidders will also be expected to help SMEs identify and evaluate digital systems that will drive business performance.
According to the document, a "shortage of digital skills such as coding, software, robotics and artificial intelligence is affecting the potential of SMEs to remain competitive and poses a potential barrier to new inward investment”.
The Lloyds UK Consumer Digital Index 2018, found that 13% of the working population in Yorkshire and Humber are without full basic digital skills, higher than the national average of 10%.
The Government has confirmed that it will guarantee funding for qualifying projects, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The final day for applications is November 25 2019.