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Jon Kennard


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£150m for businesses to build skilled workforce


Businesses across the country can now bid for a share of a £150m pot to create the training schemes they need to grow their companies, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock announced today.

The fund is the second round of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) which is already giving nearly £70m to companies including Nissan, Whitbread and GE Aviation, with projects ranging from extending skills training to local suppliers, to doubling the number of female apprentices. Government investment in EOP for rounds one and two now totals £250m.

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.

"I am also delighted to announce today that Channel 4 and the BBC have been successful in their joint round one bid with Creative Skillset to attract a more diverse range of young people into production and creative technology.

"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 collaboration between Channel 4, BBC and Creative Skillset will create training, work placements, internships and apprenticeships in production and technology. These will also be extended to businesses in their supply chain, such as independent production companies.

The other 34 successful round one projects were announced in September. These 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. This will be a crucial contribution to the company’s launch of four new models in the next two years and to the expansion of the North East’s automotive industry.

Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), which championed the vision for employer ownership, said:

"Business leaders must think strategically about their personnel - equipping workforces with the skills they know are missing, or developing those areas which have the potential to support organisational growth. 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.

"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."

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.

"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."

The round two prospectus is now available online at and the deadline for bids is 28 February 2013.

Author Profile Picture
Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard

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