IDEA for SMEs
What is IDEA for SMEs
The IDEA for SMEs project will work with 100 SMEs in the West of England Combined Authority area to increase their capacity and understanding of disability, supporting them to proactively employ disabled people.
We are delivering Workforce for the Future (WfTF) on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority in collaboration with other partners.
Who can get involved?
To apply to join the scheme, you’ll need to:
- Be an SME with fewer than 250 employees.
- Be based in the West of England (Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire).
- Have an annual turnover of less than EUR 50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total of less than EUR 43 million.
Support we offer
The support we provide is flexible, and we’ll design an interactive and engaging training and support package around your needs.
We can provide training in short workshops or longer sessions, and a mixture of e-learning, virtual and in-person delivery – depending on what works best for your business.
What you'll get from the project
You will be provided with training and resources (delivered in-person, virtually or via e-learning) on various topics including:
- Disability Awareness
- Barrier-free recruitment
- Mental Health at Work
- Workplace adjustments
We provide specific skills workshops to encourage discussion on topics around language, access to work, accessible communications and inclusivity. We also support SMEs in achieving Level 1 and 2 in the Government's Disability Confident scheme.
As part of this project, we will also be working with local providers and our Workforce for the Future partners to match SMEs with disabled people seeking work experience, placements and employment.
Why take part
- Commercial opportunity - The ‘purple pound’ (the spending power of disabled people) is worth £249bn. We can help you make the most of this expanding market.
- Access to untapped talent - A more diverse workforce can bring creativity and new insight to your business. And did you know that disabled employees have higher retention and lower absenteeism rates?
- Improve employee morale - Send a positive message to your workforce that you’re an inclusive and supportive employer.
- Serve your current employees better - We’ll show you how you can make workplace adjustments at low cost but with huge benefits for your staff.
- It makes good business sense - Disability inclusive businesses report higher revenues. Being able to demonstrate that you are socially responsible can give you that competitive edge.
About Workforce for the Future
Workforce for the Future provides free tailored, in-depth support to help you ensure your employees have the access to the training and support that your business needs to thrive. You’ll receive free support from our expert partners to ensure your business can identify ongoing skills needs, attract and retain talented people, access the right training and development, and invest in your current and future workforce.
For more information on Workforce for the Future, please contact the West of England Growth Hub. The Growth Hub is the West of England Combined Authority’s dedicated business support service which offers free, one-to-one advice and guidance for SMEs.
How the project is funded
The West of England Workforce for the Future programme has received £4m of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.
Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.