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Grants and Funding


Skills Accelerator: Local Skills Improvement Plan Trailblazers

29 April 2021/Categories: Grants_and_Funding

Revenue funding is being provided to Employer Representative Bodies (ERBs) to lead pilots of Local Skills Improvement Plans in 6-8 'trailblazer' areas of England, bringing employers and other stakeholders together to address technical skills training.

Fund Information

Funding body:
Department for Education (DfE)
Maximum value:
Application deadline:


This programme is delivered by the Department for Education (DfE).

Objectives of Fund

The Skills Accelerator aims to help reshape England’s technical skills system to better support the needs of the labour market and wider economy. It will empower providers to develop the infrastructure to deliver the right skills when and where they are needed.

One aspect of the initiative is the Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) Trailblazers scheme. LSIPs will be piloted in a group of ‘trailblazer’ areas in 2021 to 2022, led by established employer representative bodies.

LSIPs will help:

  • Bring employers, colleges and other providers, and local stakeholders together.
  • Set out the key changes needed to make technical skills training more responsive to employers’ skills need.
  • Tailor provision to the challenges and opportunities most relevant to the local area.

The aim is to pilot LSIPs in 6 to 8 trailblazer local areas in England. They will be signed-off by Government to ensure they are fit for purpose and have been developed through an appropriate process consistent with the further guidance that will be issued to areas selected as Trailblazers.

Value Notes

£4 million revenue funding is available to support LSIP trailblazers in 2021 to 2022.

The funds will be delivered as grants. Levels of support for individual applications have not been stipulated.

Who Can Apply

LSIPs will be employer-led, thus placing employers at the heart of identifying local skills needs and helping to shape local provision.

Established Employer Representative Bodies (ERBs) in England may apply to lead an LSIP trailblazer. ERBs are business membership organisations that are independent of government and whose primary purpose is to serve the needs of employers and businesses. Lead applicants will need to confirm that businesses comprise the vast majority of their membership and that the ERB is accountable to its members.

The lead ERB will need to bring employers, colleges and other providers, and key local stakeholders together to create an LSIP.


The DfE does not consider Mayoral Combined Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Skills Advisory Panels to be business representative organisations, so they are not eligible.

Eligible Expenditure

Eligible costs are likely to include, but not be limited to:

  • Supporting employer mapping, engagement, and relationship management to ensure the LSIP is business-led.
  • Supporting engagement of other key local stakeholders (including LEPs, MCAs and their SAPs).
  • Meeting the costs of staff that will develop the plan.
  • Building the capacity of ERBs to deliver LSIPs.



How To Apply

The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 25 May 2021.

Applications should be emailed to [email protected]

Expressions of interest may be submitted aligned to a Strategic Development Fund pilot application or as a standalone trailblazer application. Successful applicants will then be invited to submit an application for Local Skills Improvement Plan development funding.

For general enquiries about either pilot, interested parties should email [email protected]

Useful documents & links

Scheme - Guidance Document

Useful Links

Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:

  1. Enquiries
    Department for Education (DfE)
    Email: [email protected]

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