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The Supplier Skills Programme (SSP)

Important note: Effective from 14 September 2020

The Supplier Skills Programme has launched

The £12m SSP has launched and is open for applications. SSP operates on a funding round basis, with rounds being held every quarter until programme closure in March 2023 (subject to availability of grant funding), so complete your application form now to be considered.

Part funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and managed by Birmingham City Council (BCC), SSP is aimed at existing Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) seeking to upskill new and existing employees.

SSP responds directly to the skills and training needs identified by SMEs for their employees, thereby offering SMEs what they want and at the time they need It, in order to implement their skills and growth plans.

Training grant support available:

Training grants of between £500 to a maximum of £18,000 per SME are available and training will be funded 50% by the SME and 50% by the European Social Fund grant.

All training must be accredited by the Ofqual Framework otherwise it must be recognised by industry and professional accrediting bodies.

The grant will enable employees to achieve any of the following:

  • Full qualifications level 1 to 7, or equivalent (including higher level management and leadership skills)
  • Units or a unit of qualification at basic level

Check if the training you require is Ofqual accredited.

If you can’t find the training you need listed on the Ofqual website, then you may still be able to obtain SSP grant funding for your training requirements.

In this instance, you should speak to either the GBSLEP Growth Hub or one of your local partners, or call on the helpline 0800 032 3488.

Or follow the links listed below to contact our local SSP partners:

Before completing an SSP application form, we recommend that you check to ensure you are eligible against the SSP criteria.

Once you have established that you are eligible, you can view all of the documents you will need to apply for an SSP grant.


  • Grants are offered on a first come, first served basis and funding is subject to availability
  • The use of consultants or third parties in completing the application form is an ineligible cost
  • SSP is a beneficiary focused programme, so SMEs can submit multiple SSP applications providing a SME has not exceeded the maximum grant threshold.
  • To qualify for an SSP grant, each SME application must be for a minimum value of £1,000 of training costs. This amount can be made up of one or more courses for an individual employee or can be for several employees provided the application achieves the minimum level of £1,000. SSP applications must demonstrate a clear route of progression if more than one course is requested for the same employee

State Aid - De minimis

The State Aid measures under which SSP operates is on De Minimis, dependent upon how much State Aid funding you have received previously.

To apply for De Minimis, you must have received less than the Sterling equivalent of €200,000 State Aid assistance over a 3 year period (De Minimis State Aid for the current and previous 2 financial years). De Minimis State Aid intervention rates are up to 50% in more developed areas.

The Business Development and Innovation Team, an award winning team

The SSP is delivered by Birmingham City Council’s Business Development and Innovation Team (BDI), on behalf of the European Social Fund. The BDI team is committed to providing a high level of customer service to SMEs, as outlined in our Customer Charter.

To measure our customer service performance, we ask all applicants to complete a Customer Service Satisfaction Survey at the end of the grant process. The results from the surveys received indicate that the BDI Team achieved an overall customer satisfaction rating of 87%, compared to an overall target of 90%. BDI Customer Service Survey.

The BDI team has a track record in delivering excellence.

In 2018, the Council was acknowledged by The Federation of Small Business Awards, receiving “Best in Class Highly Commended Business Support” in recognition of its work to stimulate the growth of SMEs through a range of support packages aimed at generating private sector investment and employment opportunities.

In 2016, the Council’s achievements were recognised at the Enterprising Britain Awards, part of the Government’s drive to increase entrepreneurial activity in the UK. The council won the “Improving the Business Environment” category and also the highly coveted “Most Enterprising Place in Britain” award.

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