THOUSANDS more people across Bath and North East Somerset will be supported each and every year to get new skills and progress in work, thanks to a package of more than £15m.

The package to up-skill the region was voted through by the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority.

This is the Mayoral Combined Authority’s largest-ever investment in skills training and is all part of regional Mayor Dan Norris’s ambitious plans to help ensure his West of England region has one of the most highly skilled and well-trained workforces in the country. 

More than five million pounds of the funding will go towards training more than 6,000 locals to plug skills gaps in the region - including courses to train up an army of retrofitters, electric car mechanics and other workers needed as the region transitions to a net-zero future.

Meanwhile, 200,000 of the region’s talented young people will get the support they need to plan their routes into the jobs they want later on through a £1.5 million investment. This will support all 97 of the region’s secondary schools and improve the quality of their careers education.

Plus, measures to get 10,000 long-term sick and unemployed locals to start, stay and succeed in work are on the way - thanks to a £1.7 million investment - a major move to tackle the major long-term sickness challenge facing the West, and the country.

Mayor Dan Norris, who heads up the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, which is the regional body responsible for skills in the region, said: “Skills and training are a really important part of my role as Metro Mayor, and ensuring as many people in our West of England region have the training they need and deserve to access good-quality, well-paid secure jobs matters greatly to me.

“Because I know the incredible impact good jobs and skills training can have on a person’s life. It helped take me on an incredible journey when it came to my own career - from a child protection officer to Parliament and now Metro Mayor of the best region in the whole country.

“Since I was elected three years ago, my West of England Mayoral Combined Authority has trebled the value of our jobs and training services for locals from £20 million to £60 million. We’re already helping over 35,000 residents in our region every single year through our brilliant range of programmes for locals - from youngsters in school to people out of work looking to get back into the workplace.

“This latest funding boost for locals is our biggest investment yet and will help to give tens of thousands more locals access to the support and training they need to develop new skills and develop their careers in the West of England.”

The investment will provide 50,000 people with high quality career advice and support, and help over 35,000 people access new training, according to the regional Mayor.