Black Country Skills Factory

The Black Country Skills Factory is a Local Enterprise Partnership initiative aimed at addressing skills shortages in the transformational sectors in the Black Country.

Bite Sized training brokerage

The Skills Factory team have created a detailed matrix of equipment and training provision in the key transformational sectors (manufacturing, transport technologies, building technologies, environmental technologies and business services) in the Black Country. They are therefore able to broker and fund up-skilling training courses at best-in-class providers in the region as well as being able to give independent knowledge on apprenticeship providers and funding.

Example of training equipment matrix:

The main strands of the project include:

1. Up-skilling the existing workforce

The Skills Factory works in collaboration with local training providers and colleges to offer an extensive portfolio of funded bite-sized upskilling courses in a wide range of technical skills, as well as accredited management and leadership bite-sized training specifically tailored for the sector. 

They also sign-post to the two-year accelerated BEng Manufacturing Engineering degree delivered by the University of Wolverhampton.

The Skills Factory identified a lack of training provision in key sub sectors of manufacturing in the Black Country that led to the establishment of the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills with support from the Black Country LEP’s Growth Deal funding.

2. Increasing the number of SMEs taking engineering-based apprentices

The Skills Factory supports employers looking to take on apprentices by offering impartial advice and information which enables it to signpost to businesses to appropriate local colleges or training providers based on their needs. The Skills Factory team has detailed knowledge on the offering from each provider in the region.

3. School’s Engagement with Business

The Skills Factory  manages two programmes linking business and schools supported by the Careers & Enterprise Company.

i) The Enterprise Adviser Network which coordinates a network of experienced, volunteer business advisers with secondary schools across the Black Country.  The aim is to help schools better understand and access business, as part of their Careers Education, Advice and Guidance for pupils.

ii) The Black Country Careers Hub. This is a network of 36 Black Country schools working together to mutually raise their achievement of the Gatsby Benchmarks (Benchmarks for Careers education in schools).

The Skills Factory also aims to increase the number of young people wishing to consider high value manufacturing as a career choice by changing the perception of the manufacturing sector and signposting to the career opportunities available through its innovative Manufacture your Future career resources:


For more information on the Black Country Skills Factory, visit or follow on Twitter: @BCSkillsFactory