Government invites employers to bid for training funds

Employers will be able to bid for a share of £150 million in training funding to deliver the specific skills they need, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced today.

The Government funding pot is the second round of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP), which has already opened up £70 million in training money to companies including Nissan, Whitbread and GE Aviation. Through the scheme, Nissan was able to train up more than 3,600 technical staff, new recruits and supply chain workers involved in producing new models and technologies.

Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: “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.”

BIS also announced that Channel 4 and the BBC, together with media industry body Creative Skillset, have been successful in their bid for funding through the EOP to open up apprenticeships and internships in production and technology. It aims to attract a more diverse range of young people into the sector.

Business lobbying group the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the announcement of further funding. James Fothergill, CBI head of education and skills, said: “Businesses welcome the opportunity to bid for a share of a £150 million pot allocated by the Government to fund employer-led training solutions. Improving the skills of the UK workforce must be at the heart of our growth strategy, and making funding directly available to employers will help align training with the specific needs of companies.”

However, he urged the Government to ensure that the application process is as simple as possible to encourage employers, particularly smaller firms, to bid.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), 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 round two prospectus is now available on the UKCES website and the deadline for bids is 28 February 2013.

For more information on learning and training, see Personnel Today’s Buyers’ Guide on the topic.

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