THE Black Country Skills Factory has announced the launch of the first phase of fully funded bite sized training courses under the new European Social Funded programme.

Running through late March and April, courses have been designed to address the skills shortages across the Black Country and will be delivered by ‘best practice’ local providers.

The first phase of courses are aimed at upskilling employees to meet the specific skills needs of their business and due to the unique way the courses are co-funded by the European Social Fund and the Skills Funding Agency they come at no cost to the employer.

The courses on offer include bite sized courses in Autocad, the application of LEAN, Microsoft Excel, automotive maintenance courses, welding, building technology and construction courses and a number of courses on pneumatics and hydraulics.

All will be delivered by leading Black Country training providers and will all feature classroom based learning plus practical teaching.

The courses, which are open to any Black Country based employer, will support the Black Country Skills Factory’s aim of addressing the skills shortages in the Black Country LEP’s 5 transformational sectors (Advanced Manufacturing, Transport Technologies, Building Technologies, Environmental Technologies & Business Services).

Skills Factory director Colin Parker said: “We’ve listened to the local business community and have worked hard to put together a series of bite size courses to address the skills needs of the Black Country. Each course will enable individuals to go back to their workplace and will help them make a real difference.

“We understand a big part of addressing the skills gap is affordability and since these courses are fully funded, the only investment we require is time “Places on these courses are limited so I would advise anyone to book on sooner rather than later.”

The Black Country Skills Factory is looking for employers’ suggestions to generate the menu for subsequent phases of courses and employers are asked to register interest for future courses at

To see the individual lesson plans and to book a place visit or email