20th Nov 2012
The government is giving businesses the opportunity to bid for a share of a £150m pot to help fund training schemes and grow their companies, the skills minister Matthew Hancock has announced.
The funding is the second round of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP), launched in November 2011, designed to channel public investment directly to employers to help them deliver more flexible training packages.
So far, businesses have received nearly £70m from the fund, with government investment in EOP for rounds one and two totalling £250m.
Hancock described the initiative as a unique opportunity for companies 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 EOP 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."
Small businesses which have been successful round one bidders include a group of 10 local SMEs in Harwich, Essex, that have collaborated on a project to make the identification and delivery of training much more cost effective for local employers. The firms are working together to develop a programme of skills development and shared work experience in the area.
Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, added that business leaders must think strategically about their personnel.
"If UK industries are to thrive it is essential that a labour market exists which is fit for purpose now and in the future, with talented staff amongst the best in the world."
Hancock also announced that Channel 4 and the BBC, in collaboration with Creative Skillset, have been successful in their joint round one bid to attract a more diverse range of young people into production and creative technology. This will be extended to businesses in their supply chain, such as independent production companies.
The round two prospectus is available online and the deadline for bids is 28 February 2013.