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Government supports firms with £25 million to fund training

Matthew Hancock unveils £25 million additional support for businesses to take the lead in improving training for new and current employees. 

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock yesterday (30 April 2014) unveiled £25 million of additional support for businesses to take the lead in improving training for new and current employees.

Speaking at a UK Commission for Employment and Skills Investment Showcase, the Minister pledged to support businesses in the automotive sector supply chain with £20 million to fund training. This marks the next development in support of employer ownership, making sure skills support meets the needs of business. He also announced the successful bidders in the next phase of Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) funding as well as unveiling what previous winners have chosen to invest their funding on.

The £20 million fund for the automotive sector supply chain will support the skills essential for the continued growth of the automotive sector. From next week, businesses in the sector will be able to submit proposals in order to access funding and address skills shortages. Businesses can submit their proposals from 6 May 2014 and the offer will be open for 12 weeks.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:

Our goal is to bring employment and education closer together, to deliver the skills employers need. This straight forward, flexible employer ownership fund will allow employers in the supply chain to develop their skills so they can take advantage of significant growth opportunities in the sector. By having a highly skilled workforce, companies will be able to grow and meet the imminent and longer-term needs of automotive manufacturing companies.

In addition to this, further successful bidders for the EOP fund have been announced. Under this scheme, employers combine their own money with government funding, to invest in the training they need. Three companies have received £5.2 million between them to fund schemes in their area.

The first of these is Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Their project will address the need to improve the quality of the skills in the tourism sector locally, with a new Tourism Apprenticeship framework, which will be owned and developed by employers. The aim is to deliver 100 new apprenticeship places at tourism businesses in Blackpool.

The second successful bidder is Kostal (UK) Ltd. They will use the funding to address the skills needs identified by employers in the Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering sector in the Sheffield City Region. The project will be run by a board, chaired by Kostal (UK) Ltd, and made up of a number of employers from the City Region.

The third successful bidder was Freedom Communications. They will be using the EOP funding to address a skills need within the unified communications (UC) sector. The project will deliver end to end skills development through working in partnership with schools and Further Education to engage early with learners to guide, support and motivate them to progress an apprenticeship in next generation technologies. Through the creation of a bespoke UC Higher Apprentice scheme, Freedom will deliver a sustainable talent pipeline increasing the availability of high end UC skills in the market.

Matthew Hancock added:

Under this scheme, employers combine their own money with government funding, to invest in the training they need. It’s simple, direct, and focussed. We’ve learnt a lot from the first rounds of funding about how to support employers, some sectors have specialist skills and it is these companies that know their training needs best. By providing them with the funding, they can build training schemes around their requirements.

The Minister went on to announce successes from the last year’s successfulEOP bidders. National Grid, Everton Football Club, Rogers Restorations and Costain have pledged to create a total of 5,000 traineeships, which will be funded by EOP.

Matthew Hancock this week welcomed his own Trainee to his Parliamentary Office as part of the new Parliamentary Traineeship Scheme. Yusuf Khan will complete a 12 week Traineeship where he will gain work experience and work towards qualifications to help give him the right skills to gain future employment. Traineeships were created in August 2013 to help young people gain the skills and vital experience they need to get an Apprenticeship or other job. They comprise work preparation training, maths and English training and work experience with an employer.

Notes to Editors:

  1. A copy of the Minister’s speech is available here
  2. Information on the successful EOP bidders and quotes from the businesses are below:

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Nigel Kilgallon, Chair of Blackpool Tourism Academy and Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach said:

Blackpool Tourism Academy is a consortium of key leisure attractions within the UK’s premier seaside resort dedicated to boosting the skills of its seasonal and year round workforce. With the assistance of EOP we can now roll out a new WorldHost customer service standard, expand the range of supervisory and management programmes on offer, and pioneer a new tourism practice apprenticeship.

Freedom Communications

Freedom’s Operations Director Lisa Clark has been responsible for the design and delivery of the project. Lisa said:

Having identified the growing skills gap within our industry, Freedom are delighted to have the support of HM Government’s Employer Ownership Funding in the creation of a sustainable talent pipeline. Through this project, Freedom will develop a unique technical workforce that will help drive business and economic growth.

Everton Football Club

Everton in the Community, the official charity of Everton Football Club, have recently launched a flagship traineeship programme, which offers young people from across the region access to qualifications.

Along with partner Ingeus, Everton in the Community is leading a consortium of Merseyside employers who want to recruit unemployed young people into their businesses, and has developed a unique programme to give local young people their first foot on the career ladder.

The programme will also combine money from business and the government to help employers invest in the skills and training needed for growth.

Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chief Executive Officer for Everton in the Community, said:

We are delighted to have secured this funding from the BIS, Skills Funding Agency and UKCES to support thousands of unemployed young people into a career that excites them.

Rogers Restorations

Mike Rogers, Managing Director of Rogers Restorations Ltd said:

We are honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead this exciting new BSE (Building Services & Engineering) traineeship which we hope will encourage new employers into enabling a new entrance path for young people looking to gain employment in the industry.

It’s very exciting that the government is listening to the micro employers and small businesses that are at the coal-face of apprenticeships and training within the industry. The experience of these businesses and their knowledge around bringing young people into employment is invaluable for creating a viable and effective training scheme.


Costain is leading a number of large, medium and small construction employers, including the Federation of Master Builders, to deliver the vital up-skilling of employees inclusive of the supply chain within Round 2 of the Employer Ownership of Skills. This capability development will include supervisors, higher apprenticeships, and will help more people enter the industry by the delivery of traineeships, which in turn will support our growing apprenticeship programmes.

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