Government opens £150m training and skills fund

Government funding for training schemes was opened up on Tuesday to businesses across the UK, who now have access to a share of a £150m pot.

Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, announced the second round of funding was now available and open to bids through the Employment Ownership Pilot.

Businesses will be able to use the fund to train employees and develop the skills of their existing workforce.

Firms such as Nissan, Whitbread and GE Aviation have already benefitted from a share of £70m in the first round of funding.

Diverse projects such as skills training for local suppliers and apprenticeships targeted at increasing numbers of female workers were made possible by this funding.

The pilot scheme, which is run jointly by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education, has been assigned a total Government investment of £250m.

Matthew Hancock commented: “For Britain to compete we need as a nation to deliver the skills employers need.

“This is a unique opportunity for companies across all industries to secure their futures by addressing their skills needs now.

“I would encourage businesses – large and small – to be ambitious and innovative in their vision for how the fund can help them grow, from creating new apprenticeship programmes to setting up specialist training academies.

“The Employer Ownership Pilot is not only strengthening individual businesses. It is showing us new ways to make sure the whole of the UK economy has the skills it needs to compete in the global race.”

The Skills Minister also announced a partnership with Channel 4, BBC and training support body, Creative Skillset, to develop work placements, internships, training and apprenticeships in the production and technology sectors.

Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and backer of the Employment Ownership scheme said: “We know that there aren’t any quick solutions to creating a highly skilled workforce, but projects such as the Employer Ownership pilot offer a unique opportunity for businesses to collaborate and create ambitious bids which can begin to address skills issues at a sector or geographic level.

“I would urge every business to consider how their involvement in the pilot might support them to improve the skills of our people to benefit our businesses, our economy and our society.”

The National Apprenticeship Service reacted positively to Tuesday’s announcement, and welcomed an “employer-led approach.”

Chief Executive of NAS, David Way, said: “The Employer Ownership Pilot will encourage a fresh and creative approach to stimulating employers to offer more opportunities to young people.

“This initiative will enable even more employers to collaborate and lead to the further expansion of apprenticeships.

“This is vital for ensuring employers of all sizes and in vital growth sectors invest in and benefit from apprenticeships.

“We look forward to working closely with UKCES, BIS and all of our employers in developing and delivering high quality apprenticeships.”

Dobson, M. Government opens £150m training and skills fund, available at http://bdaily.co.uk/business/20-11-2012/government-opens-150m-training-and-skills-fund/

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