Press release

Hundreds of employers bid for £250m skills training pilot

Information on the government's employer ownership pilot for investment in skills and training.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The government has received 269 bids from employers looking to take part in a new pilot to design and develop their own vocational training programmes, Skills Minister John Hayes announced today.

The Employer Ownership pilot invited the first round of bids earlier in the year for a share of the £250 million fund which will route public investment directly to employers - enabling them to invest in the training and skills development they need to grow their business.

Mr Hayes said:

Skills are central to the UK economy and our long-term competitiveness and we’re making excellent progress with the biggest apprenticeship programme in modern history.

That’s why the government has put building workforce capabilities through training at the heart of our economic strategy.

But there’s always more to do and because we know the skills system must be demand driven, we’re determined to put employers in the driving seat. With unprecedented focus and funding we’ll match and beat competitor nations who have always valued vocational education.

This pilot fund will give employers the space and opportunity for greater ownership of the vocational skills agenda encouraging innovation and new thinking as we provide the platform for sustainable growth.

Testing the impact of greater employer ownership of the vocational training agenda is the key objective of the pilot. The vision of greater employer ownership has been championed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) - a non-departmental public body that provides strategic leadership on skills and employment issues.

Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and the John Lewis Partnership, said:

The pilots are all about encouraging innovation and partnership in an area that is critical to the growth and success of our economy. I look forward to seeing what changes we can start to make as a result of these investments.

The winners of the bids will be announced later in the year.

Notes to editors

  1. The competitive fund will route public investment directly to employers and will be backed by significant resources from existing skills budgets. Up to £250m is available over the next two years, subject to evidence of high-quality proposals from employers and ongoing evaluation.

  2. Bids are seeking a total of around £400m of public investment in this first round of the pilot.

  3. We will make a decision in the coming months regarding the timing of round two following an evaluation of the success of the first round.

  4. A good spread of bids has been received from across the English regions and from different sectors, with a good number of bids from the small and mid-sized business community.

  5. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up-to-date list of BIS press office contacts.

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Published 15 May 2012