Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, and Minister for Skills, John Hayes, today launched a £50 million a year fund to help businesses develop the skills they need to drive growth.
The Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF) will help employer groups overcome barriers to growth within their sectors and industries. The funding could deliver new training to boost innovation and productivity, enable industries to set new professional standards, or support new or extended National Skills Academies.
BIS will invest up to £50m per year in partnership with businesses, whose investment alongside Government could deliver a total of up £100m a year.
Secretary of State Vince Cable said:
“This government understands that to rebalance and grow our economy, we need to tackle the skills shortages that hold companies back. Through this fund, we will support employers that take collective action to overcome these blockages to expansion.
“By putting the employer voice at the heart of the process, we will reward inventive approaches to training that deliver real help to get business moving.”
Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes said:
“Government investment in skills works best for individuals and communities when it responds directly to employers’ needs. By giving business the power to shape the training support we offer, we will ensure that public money directly supports jobs and growth.
“I look forward to working with industries of all kinds to deliver help where it is most needed to boost performance.”
Growth and Innovation Fund
The fund will be delivered in partnership by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).
It invites proposals from employer organisations such as Sector Skills Councils, professional bodies and trade associations.
The prospectus outlines three types of projects where GIF funding and employer investment can be brought together:
- ‘Best Market Solutions’ which will invest in the best innovative ideas to drive enterprise and remove skills barriers to growth, including through the introduction of new voluntary professional standards and voluntary training levies.
- National Skills Academies: expanding the successful network of National Skills Academies, which already exist in 16 sectors such as Environmental Technology, Railway Engineering and Retail.
- Joint Investment Programme: bringing together employer and public investment in specific training projects which improve business productivity and growth, or address skills gaps and shortages.