Industrial partnerships: an overview

Detail on industrial partnerships, the sectors covered and their remit.

An industrial partnership brings together employers across an industry sector to lead the development of skills, with a focus on growth and competitiveness. There are currently 8 partnerships covering the aerospace, automotive, creative, nuclear, digital, energy & efficiency, science and tunnelling (construction) industries.

Each industrial partnership is chaired by a major employer and is a platform for businesses of all shapes and sizes in the sector to define and influence skills priorities. While the shape and scope of each partnership is defined by its employers, all partnerships share a commitment to tackling skills shortages, testing innovative training solutions with their sector, and overcoming the skills shortages that have restrained whole sectors from achieving their potential. They are supported by trades unions, trade and professional bodies and sector skills councils.

Through collaborative action they aim to improve the skills and employability of their current and future workforce, and in doing so increase productivity, build their capacity to innovate, and strengthen their world class position. Where an Industrial Strategy is in place for a sector the relevant partnerships priorities are aligned.

These 8 partnerships are funded up to March 2017 through a co-investment model, with the Government investing £131 million through its Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) fund. The fund is managed by the Skills Funding Agency, part of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Government investment is matched by cash and in-kind from the employers, creating a total fund of £354 million: for every £1 of Government investment, businesses are investing £1.70.

In September 2015 the government notified the partnerships that EOP funding would finish in March 2016. Plans are now in place to bring EOP funded activity to a conclusion by this date.

For more information, see our information leaflet on Industrial Partnerships: Industrial partnerships - information leaflet (PDF, 1.43 MB, 4 pages)

You can also contact the Industrial Partnership team.

Details of the current industrial partnerships are as follows:


Chaired by: Airbus

The Aerospace Growth Partnership for Skills (AGPS) is the voice of the sector on skills matters and works through a collaboration of academia, large and small employers, the Regional Aerospace Alliances, local and national government. Working on behalf of the sector AGPS focus includes making the industry attractive to young people through Apprenticeships, traineeships and graduate intern opportunities; increasing Masters level practitioners, developing project managers, and capturing and sharing critical knowledge across the supply chain. Its aim will extend beyond ensuring the current skills programmes are sustainable to seeking to understand what the medium and long term needs of the sector are enabling aerospace manufacturing and assembly businesses to create a strategy and solutions to address its future needs.

Further information:


Chaired by: Jaguar Land Rover

The automotive manufacturing sector needs a flexible workforce with skills that keep pace with emerging technologies and production processes. To achieve this the sector requires a shared understanding of job specifications and skills that all businesses, large and small, can use. The Automotive Industrial Partnership (AIP) is leading this work. With this intelligence the sector, the current and future workforce, training organisations and investment bodies can make informed decisions regarding training priorities; identifying geographical ‘hot spots’ ensuring provision aligns to needs of local employers and the labour market. The AIP is introducing careers in the automotive sector to young people through its Industrial Cadets and ‘Art of Manufacturing’ initiatives as well as developing management and leadership skills across the industry.

Further information:

Creative Industries

Chaired by: Channel 4

The creative industries are a diverse set of industries and the industrial partnership includes, but it is not limited to, media, games, fashion, publishing, advertising, and marketing and communications. To reinforce the UK’s place as world leader the Creative Industries Partnership is creating an industry-led skills system that reflects the size and diversity of businesses in this sector. This will be achieved by having an education and careers system that inspires and supports the next generation of workers exhibiting fused skills (combining creative, technical and entrepreneurial); signposting quality skills development provision to help individuals and employers make informed choices on relevant, quality training. The partnership has the ambition to inspire greater employer investment and ownership of skills development at all levels meaning more and better ladders of opportunity for individuals and more successful companies.

Further information


Chaired by: Cisco Systems

The employers of the digital industrial partnership, the Tech Partnership, lead the skills agenda for the digital economy. The partnership’s work is focused on four objectives. It addresses the pipeline issues that hamper the supply of motivated and well-prepared people, and particularly women, into digital careers. It creates new routes into digital employment, through industry-led apprenticeships and degrees, and cost effective, high quality in-work training programmes. It promotes investment in education and training that delivers the skills industry needs, with a particular focus on strategically important skills like big data and cyber security. It raises quality by setting industry standards and accrediting education and training that meets them. With digital skills underpinning not only the tech industry itself, but businesses across the economy, its work drives innovation and competitiveness in all sectors.

Further information:

Energy & Efficiency

Chaired by: National Grid

The Energy & Efficiency Industrial Partnership is being championed by businesses in the energy and utilities sector. It is taking a radical new approach to recruitment and skills. The Partnership will set the agenda and pioneer new approaches to training development, delivery and assessment that will yield the skills the sector needs. By investing in the talent of those entering the industry as well as the current workforce the partnership intends not only to solve its skills shortages, but also to create jobs and help the whole economy. High priorities include youth employment, high quality apprenticeships and improved supply chain collaborations especially the portability of labour and the transferability of skills.

Further information:


Chaired by: Magnox Ltd

The Nuclear Industrial Partnership’s overarching ambition is to provide a coherent industry-led model for ensuring effective implementation of the skills priorities defined in the Nuclear Industrial Strategy; to transform the supply of technical skills needed to support the UK nuclear programme. It works with businesses involved in the construction, commissioning, operating and decommissioning of nuclear facilities. This will include: addressing the pipeline issues that hamper recruitment and progression; offering workforce development opportunities that meet the highest standards of professionalism; and supporting the supply chain to develop the skills and expertise required to compete in a global market.

Further information:


Chaired by: GlaxoSmithKline

The Science Industry Partnership (SIP) aims to design the vocational training and skills programmes needed by the life sciences and industrial science sectors. It supports Government strategies for Life and Industrial Sciences. To build a globally competitive science-based industry in the UK the sector needs a supply of young people with capability, drive and ambition. In addition the partnership will support the development of the existing workforce to acquire the skills needed to adopt new technologies and innovate new products and services. The SIP is running six employer designed and driven pilot skills programmes. The Industry Degree Scheme and SMART Apprenticeships are just two examples of the innovative skills programmes led by the partnership; both providing practical experience within businesses that play an active role in shaping the learning to meet business and learner needs.

The SIP also aims to create a Skills Strategy for the sector; aligning to the Government strategies; running an Employer Board and a number of sub groups working with stakeholders and partners to design and deliver skills solutions, creating an accredited network of training providers including centres of excellence, and developing an employer owned system for accrediting new qualifications and assessment.

Further information:


Chaired by: Crossrail

Tunnelling Talent is an employer-lead project that seeks to establish skills and employment solutions to the challenges of the sector. Using the innovative Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA), the only tunnelling training facility in Europe, as a central delivery point, the project has developed a range of qualifications that meet the needs of employers. Impact measures include a greater proportion of UK workers delivering tunnelling projects, increased employer productivity, and increased participation in training for SMEs. It also places the sector in a stronger position to bid for international projects.

Further information:

Published 6 March 2015
Last updated 16 December 2015 + show all updates
  1. Text changed to reflect government's decision to cease funding partnerships.

  2. First published.