Press release

Millions in government funding made available to target industrial strategy skills training

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

Companies now have access to £238 million of government funding to design and guide vocational training to meet the needs of their workforce

Companies of all sizes now have access to a total of £238 million in government funding to design and guide vocational training to meet the needs of their workforce.

Everton Football Club, Balfour Beatty and the National Grid are among a raft of names announced today who have successfully bid to take part in the design of vocational skills. Government’s contribution will be more than matched by the successful companies.

A key aim of the Industrial Strategy is to improve the skills base of the country. By working in partnership with industry these companies will help to reach that goal.

The Business Secretary will outline the benefits of this investment to an audience of business leaders at the Industrial Strategy Conference “One Year On” at Warwick University on Wednesday 11 September.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

We want the Employer Ownership Pilots to test a new approach, built around an open and flexible offer for employers. I am happy to see that businesses have taken up that challenge.

The difference in these schemes is that we will channel funds through employers rather than providers. I look forward to seeing the transformation that this investment will bring to shaping the skills and training of this country’s workforce.

Employer Ownership Pilot Round Two (EOP2) follows the first round of this pilot, which is jointly funded by BIS and Department for Education with £340 million to 2015/16.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said:

This project is helping to strengthen industries that know the skills of their workforce are a driver of growth and have the capacity to place the country ahead in the global race.

It is rewarding to see that so many businesses were interested in taking part in this programme. I look forward to them producing dependable innovative vocational training to help grow the economy.

UK Commission for Employment and Skills Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said:

Skills are vital to economic growth and the best people to develop them are the businesses that need them to succeed. With this pilot we are placing that responsibility in their hands and the response we’ve had shows there are many ready to take it.

I’m particularly pleased that several successful bids are not from sole companies but are in effect industrial partnerships, led by forward thinking employers and including colleges and unions, and all aimed at ensuring their patch, be that a sector or a region, plays the greatest possible part in the growth of the UK economy.

Many of the bids will help deliver the skills necessary to drive our industrial strategy in sectors including construction, manufacturing, automotive and transport. The bids are aligned with the 11 sectors of the Industrial Strategy and cover a range of different business types including groups of employers coming together taking end-to-end responsibility for vocational skills in their region or sector.

One year ago the Business Secretary set out the government’s approach to industrial strategy. This is to invest and grow business by sticking to long-term plans to tackle economic weakness and instability. A whole government approach, it was designed to instil confidence for investment and improve growth. The five core areas of focus are: sectors, technologies, access to finance, skills and procurement.

Notes to editors:

  1. Second round successful bidders that can be announced are:

Balfour Beatty plc

Training workers to meet the demands of the highly skilled construction sector in a new academy, which will design the training employers need.

Chirton Engineering ltd

A consortium of North East SMEs will develop the North East Machining Academy. They will provide accredited training to both new comers and existing staff in modern manufacturing practices.

Costain Engineering and Construction

A collaboration between large construction employers and SMEs to develop and deliver new innovative industry standards and training whilst at the same time developing a talent pipeline to increase opportunities through work experience, Traineeships and Higher Apprenticeships.

Everton Football Club

Establishing a Traineeship scheme to target the lack of employment in the local area and the perception that young people lack work ready skills.


Will develop an employer cooperative (Employer First) to raise awareness of career paths and jobs in the low carbon and environmental goods sector.

G’s Fresh ltd

Helping employers train their staff in cutting edge research and agricultural techniques so they can be implemented on farms throughout the country.

National Grid Plc:

Bringing together 93 employers from the energy sector to pioneer new training.

NIS Limited

Nuclear industry employers will pool their resources to develop high quality training for those working in the sector.

Rogers Restoration

Designing training in building services engineering to provide young people with training in this niche and highly skilled sector.

UPM Tilhill

Developing training that will give people the skills needed to work in forestry SMEs and micro business.

Westley Group ltd

Training people in the much needed castings engineering and carftsments skills for foundries.

2.The Employer Ownership Pilot was launched on 7 February 2012. Jointly funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education to route public investment directly to employers so they can design and deliver more flexible training packages. Employers are expected to provide co-funding.

3.The prospectus; sets out the rationale for the scheme in more detail. 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.

4.Many bids involve a collaborative approach, with successful bidders working alongside FE Colleges, National Skills Academies, private training providers, Trade Unions and many others. A number of the bids have a strong emphasis on those aged 16-18

5.All applications undergo a robust appraisal process based on the published criteria and an Investment Board ensured a balanced portfolio of applications was supported.

6.Further successful applicants will be announced later in the year.

7.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.