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Employers can access £65m to develop workers


Semta, the sector skills council for the science, engineering and manufacturing technologies sector, has announced a new £65m partnership with government to deliver urgently required skills training for workers in these sectors.

Through Semta, companies can access grants of between £500 and £1800 per employee depending on what qualifications and training is needed. Support will be geared mainly towards development of lean manufacturing skills to make small and medium sized companies more competitive.

A lack of skilled workers is costing the country around £700 million a year in lost productivity, according to recent Semta research. In the pharmaceutical and bio science sector there are skills gaps of 29% and in engineering this is 18%.

The companies who should benefit most will be those with under 250 employees who may struggle to determine how skills investment can improve their business. Semta advisors will help them identify where their business needs improved staff skills, set improvement targets and measure the impact. Unlike larger companies, they will also be eligible for grants to develop management and leadership.

The new agreement will allow participating employers in England to train through programmes including Train to Gain and Apprenticeships. In addition, existing workers, of all ages, will be able to learn new or more advanced skills, which will allow them to progress their careers and improve productivity and competitiveness.

The £65m will be available from the Train to Gain budget - up to 30% of the budget for level 2 and level 3 learning will now be available to train employees who already hold GCSE or A-level equivalents but who need more specific, or more up-to-date, business qualifications.

Government investment in Train to Gain will rise to over £1 billion by 2010-11, supporting over 800,000 learners to improve their skills and gain new qualifications.

Employers who are interested in finding out more about the new funding are encouraged to contact Joanne Thompson or Michelle Henderson of Semta on 01740 627000 or visit www.


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