Home » About the College » Past Projects and Partnerships


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Petroc has a long track record of both delivering and managing projects financed by the European Social Fund (ESF). Since 1999 we have successfully managed over 60 ESF contracts which together have a total value of over £28 million.

Working with our partners across the South West we have supported over 18,000 participants. The list below details just a few of our more recent projects. If you are interested in working with Petroc on future ESF opportunities, find out about joining our Petroc Subcontractor Framework.

With many of the projects Petroc manages, there is the opportunity to develop and share best practice. From resources for helping learners with additional needs access employment to information about creative careers in Europe, we have a range of resources and information that others might learn from.

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Past projects

Funding body: European Social Fund (ESF) 
Total project value: £439,039.24
Dates: January 2018 - December 2020
Summary: The main focus of Petroc’s activities was addressing the HE cold spot and low skill levels across North Devon & Torridge, both through expanding provision and through identifying and challenging barriers to participation. We had a specific focus on areas in POLAR quintiles 1, 2 & 3, although all those least likely to progress to higher level skills were targeted, regardless of local area. 
Impact: The immediate impact of the project has been largely evidenced through the results and outputs of the participants. Having supported over 350 individuals through a number of initiatives such as; HE Summer Schools, Vocational Academies, L5 Leadership & Management Awards and various online provision. 40 of those individuals exited the project having achieved a Level 4+ qualification. The legacy of the project will carry forward best practice, with initiatives such as the HE Summer School and the HE Hub to continue post project completion. 

Funding body: European Social Fund (ESF) 
Total project value: £205,872.45
Dates: January 2018 - December 2020
Summary: The main focus of Petroc’s activities was addressing the HE cold spot, low skill levels and low wage levels across North Devon & Torridge. This was achieved through improving and developing sustainable systems for higher-level employer engagement, ensuring employers understand and are equipped to utilise higher-level skills effectively within the workforce, and to ensure higher-level skills provision in North Devon & Torridge meets local employer needs as well as individual aspiration.
Impact: Petroc continues to find innovative approaches to delivery and curriculum development with a focus on identifying and addressing growth areas that currently have limited provision, for example, Engineering, Nursing and Digital Technologies.
There is a significant focus on Higher and Degree Apprenticeships and we will continue to work with industry to deliver Government-backed initiatives and provide employers with the high-level skills most critical for growth.
In addition, we will be seeking to improve employability prospects and reduce the risk of drop out for those engaged in training at level four and above.

Funding Stream: European Social Fund
Total Project Value: £3,500,000
Dates: April 2012 – July 2015
Partnership: Over 40 partners including FE colleges, third sector organisations and private training providers.
Geographical Coverage: South West excluding Cornwall
Summary: Partners delivered work-related skills training for low-skilled employees. The project aimed to raise participants’ level of attainment, enabling individuals to improve their employment status and to move on to undertake higher levels of training.
Impact: The project engaged with over 2800 individuals, with a high level of progression on to higher level training and further employment. Partners worked alongside employers and participants to ensure that provision was tailored to the needs of the individual and therefore offered them the best chance for career progression.

Funding Stream: European Social Fund
Total Project Value: £1,178,500
Dates: August 2014 – July 2015
Partnership: 20 partners including FE colleges, private training providers and third sector organisations.
Geographical Coverage: BANES, Bristol, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Plymouth, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon, Torbay, Wiltshire.
Summary: The project was designed to offer unemployed adults a responsive provision to meet specific localised needs. It funded tailored interventions to raise skills levels in either specific localities or sectors, or working with particular client groups.
Impact: The project engaged over 1300 unemployed individuals across the South West. Partners responded to local needs, plugging skills gaps in sectors such as care, construction and transport.

Funding Stream: European Social Fund
Total Project Value: £1,200,000
Dates: September 2013 – July 2015
Partnership: 13 partners including FE colleges, private training providers and third sector organisations.
Geographical Coverage: Devon, Torbay & Somerset.
Summary: This project engaged with young people who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) or those at risk of becoming NEET, to provide bespoke support to overcome barriers. The overall aim was for participants to progress to education or to employment with training.
Impact: The partnership engaged with over 600 individuals, of whom over half progressed on to further education, training or employment.

Funding Stream: European Social Fund
Total Project Value: £2,773,000
Dates: April 2011 – December 2013
Partnership: 16 partners including FE colleges, private training providers and third sector organisations.
Geographical Coverage: Devon, Plymouth, Torbay & Somerset.
Summary:  This was a partnership project led by Petroc to deliver bespoke support to young people who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) or those at risk of becoming NEET.  The aim of the project was to help overcome barriers and progress the participants into either education or employment with training, through a personalised programme of IAG, life skills, learning skills and work skills. 
Impact: The project exceeded virtually all of its targets and supported 1,619 individuals, with 629 young people achieving a qualification and 662 progressing into a positive outcome. Feedback from learners was overwhelmingly positive with over 76% rating their experience as either excellent or good. Capacity building activities also tested theories and new ideas surrounding the recruitment and engagement of the target group which would be of benefit beyond the life of the project.

Project Aims:The aim is to acquire key competences for students, starters and employees in VET in order to realize an added value for the labour market by training the workforce to become “intrapreneurs” (i.e. enterprising/innovative employees) or/and to open a new professional gate for (potential) entrepreneurs.

The project will develop an integral solution of key competence shortages by
- Spotting individuals strengths and weaknesses in key competences
- Formulating training needs in key competences to the assesse
- Train the individual/team in key competences
- Providing competence advice on the workplace

 To achieve this it will create a 'Skills/Talent identification' tool kit covering hard and soft skills (tangible outcome) based on

  1. An adapted “enterprise game” by BES (UK)
  2. An enterprising assessment tool by DAP-services (CZ) and Syntra West (BE)
  3. Enterprising soft skill trainings by RPIC-VIP to train employees, teachers and students (CZ)
  4. Publication on the enterprising competences for HR and training in Europe

Projects Eligibility
Enteur primarily involved staff from the partners involved within the partnership collaborating in order to develop the Skills/Talent Identification tool kit. The tool could then be utilised in either a classroom or workplace setting to develop entrepreneurship skills within any target group irrespective of age, gender, race etc.

Partnership and Funding
Enteur has been funded by the European Commission via the Leonardo Lifelong learning Programme (2017-13)

Lead Partner: Syntra West (BE)
UK Partners: Petroc; Momentic 
European Partners: Syntra Flanders (BE); DAP Services (CZ); RPIC-ViP (CZ)

Funding Body:  Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK

Funding Stream:  Business Basics Programme

Total Project Value:  £298,253.68

Dates:  1 June 2020 to 31 March 2022


  • Applegate Marketplace Ltd
  • Barr Media
  • Jane Maynard Limited
  • Lineal Software Solutions Limited

Geographical Coverage:  North Devon and Torridge

Project Summary:

The research trial tested the concept of supporting small businesses to increase the use of technology within their business administration processes through technology knowledge transfer, embedding expert knowledge through student-led projects.

Business Administration Technology covers a wide range of processes including marketing, finance, recording information and communications. The aim of the Research Trial was to boost the productivity and profitability of local businesses in North Devon and Torridge, as well as improving the work-life balance of business owners and managers, through increasing the adoption of ‘new-to-the-business’ technologies.

Project Impact: 

Kada Research provided evaluation throughout the project and produced the final evaluation report in March 2022, which can be found here.

Funding Body:  Department for Education (DfE)

Funding Stream:  Institute of Technology

Total Project Value:  £155,671

Dates:  1 September 2021 to 31 March 2022


  • South West Institute of Technology

Geographical Coverage:  n/a

Project Summary:

Tech Skills was part of the Institute of Technology in-work skills pilot that aimed to reform further education to support people to get the skills needed throughout their lives to support economic growth.

The pilot focussed on delivering higher technical education, in a more flexible and modular approach, to enable skills to be built up over time, simulating demand and supply in improving the understanding of ‘what works’ in delivering effective modular provision ahead of the introduction of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement.

Project Impact: 

  • The development of STEM related short and modular technical courses, at Levels 4 & 5, delivered flexibly and on a part-time basis
  • Addressed the needs of local employers and economic growth through short term, targeted interventions

Innovation for Youth and Community project:

View the report summary and information on the 7 key strands.

View the evaluation report 


Promoting Innovation and Entrepreneurship project:

View the evaluation report