£150m fund to build skilled workforce

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The government has announced the creation of an investment pot worth £150m to fund training schemes for UK businesses.

Companies have been invited to bid for a share of the money, which forms the second round of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP).

This has already handed out £70m to a range of projects including extending skills training for local suppliers to the doubling of female apprentices.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said the latest move means the government will have invested £250m in the two EOP rounds.

“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,” he said.

EOP’s round one projects included Nissan’s programme to bridge the skills gap for more than 3,600 technical staff, new recruits and supply chain workers involved in producing new models and working with evolving technologies.

David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “While I am delighted to see many more employers offering apprenticeships every week, we welcome this important employer-led approach.

“This will help to achieve our ambition to see accelerated growth and higher quality standards for apprenticeships.”

Companies have until the end of February next year to bid for funds. A prospectus can be found at http://www.ukces.org.uk/employerownership.