Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Ministers re-open £60m fund to boost business skills & growth

Ministers re-open £60m fund to boost business skills & growth

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 22 November 2011

The second phase of the Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF) was launched today by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Minister for Skills John Hayes. The fund will support businesses to develop their skills solutions tailored to their own needs, transforming growth in their sector, region or supply chain.

BIS will be providing £34 million for 2012-13 and there is still £29 million available to bid for. With matched funding from businesses there will be around £60 million available under GIF this year. Comparable levels of investment are planned for the following two years.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“The Government understands we need to tackle the skills shortages that are holding companies back. Through this fund, we will support employers that take collective action to overcome these barriers, helping to rebalance and grow our economy.

“By putting the employer’s voice at the heart of the process, we will reward inventive approaches to training that deliver real help to get business moving.”

Attending a reception to launch the GIF funded Hospitality Guild, John Hayes announced that this year the Government would be accepting applications throughout the year, ensuring projects could be approved at several points in 2012, rather than having one annual round.

Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes said:

“I know times are tough for many businesses, but I am determined to do all I can to build a skills system that creates opportunity for young people, and puts firms on course for growth.

“Government investment in skills works best for individuals and communities when it responds directly to employers’ needs. Offering a more continuous process will ensure that public money will be able to fund more projects throughout the year, giving business the power to shape training and directly support jobs and growth.

“The Hospitality Guild is a great example of how the Growth and Innovation Fund can help unify businesses and professional training bodies to raise skills in the sector, and support staff development within both large and smaller players in this industry.”

The Growth and Innovation Fund offers targeted help for employer groups to overcome barriers to growth within their sectors and industries. The funding is already supporting 15 projects across the country deliver new training to boost innovation and productivity, enable industries to set new professional standards, or support new or extended National Skills Academies.

Earlier this year in collaboration with nine other founding members of the Hospitality Guild, People 1 st successfully put forward a bid for GIF funding.

Martin-Christian Kent, Hospitality Guild Director, said:

“Through the Hospitality Guild, the hospitality industry has a real opportunity to shout about the career opportunities it offers, to demonstrate its passion for skills and its ambition to raise its productivity and professionalism.

“With 1 in 14 people working in the hospitality industry, an area that has been growing despite the economic downturn, the Hospitality Guild will also have a role to play in tackling unemployment through facilitating strong ‘into work’ programmes, apprenticeships and work placements.”

Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency said:

“We look forward to working with employers and their representative organisations to find innovative and sustainable solutions to tackle skills gaps in their sectors. The Growth and Innovation Fund will secure a greater commitment from employers to invest in the skills they need, so creating jobs and Apprenticeships, driving enterprise and increasing their overall productivity in support of the growth agenda.”

Following that first round several improvements have been made to GIF to make it more accessible to potential applicants. GIF will now open for business all year round, meaning proposals can be submitted whenever they arise and are ready to be considered for investment.

Where proposals are identified as meriting GIF co-investment the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) will be available to work alongside the applicant to ensure the projects have the very best chance of fulfilling their promise to make a significant impact on enterprise, jobs and growth.

To make sure that the investment fund can support businesses in the different ways they work together to secure growth, including in a particular geographical area, we have extended eligibility to apply to local enterprise partnerships, alongside the wide range of sector and employer bodies already in scope.

Notes to Editors

1. he Growth and Innovation Fund was first proposed in the Skills for Sustainable Growth strategy in November 2010. The BIS allocation for the GIF investment fund in 2012-13 is £33m, with comparable levels of investment planned for the following two years. £28m remains available in 2012-13 for further projects. The investment could potentially be doubled to almost £60 million with matched investment from business.

2. Approximately a further £20m a year from GIF in 2012-13 has supported the SME Leadership and Management Grant which provides grants (match-funded by employers) to support Leadership and Management training for SMEs and social enterprises. Comparable funding will be devoted to that programme in future years, but no longer under the GIF banner.

3. The prospectus published today details the criteria for new bids to the fund.

4. Applications are being invited from Sector Skills Councils, Industry Training Boards, formally constituted Sector Bodies, National Skills Academies, Employer Associations, Trade Associations and Professional Bodies. Where Local Enterprise Partnerships are legally constituted bodies, they may apply; where they are not, we encourage them to work in partnership with an eligible organisation. We are also keen to encourage groups of employers acting on behalf of a sector consortium or leading supply chain initiatives to work with an eligible organisation to bring forward innovative solutions. Bids will be assessed by a GIF investment board, chaired by Charlie Mayfield, Chair of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.

5. The GIF prospectus will be available from 24 November on the UKCES website.

6. In the same week as BIS is re-opening the GIF to new applications, we also expect to see the announcement by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) of major investment in Sector Skills Council (SSC) projects to drive employer investment in skills across all four nations of the UK. This project funding will be provided through the UKCES Employer Investment Fund over 2012-13 and 2013-14, to support SSCs with a range of employer-designed and employer-led skills solutions. This represents a shift away from grant funding of SSCs to promoting specific employer-driven work.

7. The Hospitality Guild brings together industry bodies, businesses and individuals to promote skills training, apprenticeships, and innovation within the hospitality sector. It will act as a market place for its members where standards are set, met and showcased. It is being developed and managed by People 1st and its founding members include the Academy of Culinary Arts, the Academy of Food and Wine Service, AICR, British Institute of Innkeepers, Institute of Hospitality, Springboard UK, the National Skills Academy for Hospitality, the Professional Association of Catering Educators and the Worshipful Company of Innholders.

8. People 1st is the Sector Skills Council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism sector. The organisation works to transform skills in the sector, particularly in the areas of management and leadership, customer service and craft skills. It is the leading employment research specialist in the industry. The organisation is committed to ensuring that public funds support the industry to develop only those qualifications and programmes that meet the needs of employers.

9. The launch of the GIF-funded Hospitality Guild is taking place in The Stafford London by Kempinski, The Wine Cellars on Wednesday 23rd of November 2011 from 6pm – 8pm. For further information about the Hospitality Guild or if you would like to attend the event contact Kati Byrne on 07984185838 or

10. 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. See for more information.


BIS Press Office

Lucy-Michael Sutton
Phone: 020 7215 5977

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