Government pledges £50 million to close

Government pledges £50 million to close the skills gap
7 March 2011

The Government has committed itself to £50 million of spending each year to help businesses deal with the problem of a shortage of skills.

The money is to be delivered through the Growth and Innovation (GIF).

The finance will be aimed at new training to boost innovation and productivity, at helping industries set new professional standards, and at supporting new or extended National Skills Academies.

The Department of Business is hoping that an additional £50 million will come from the private sector, taking the overall investment in skills to £100 million.

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said: “This government understands that to rebalance and grow our economy, we need to tackle the skills shortages that hold companies back. Through this fund, we will support employers that take collective action to overcome these blockages to expansion.

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

“We’ve already made a big commitment to apprenticeships, for example. Despite the cuts we have had to make in the budget generally, we have set aside enough money for an additional 75,000 apprenticeships in the country.

“This is a step beyond that. It’s a way of helping companies who want to establish, for example, a skills academy to create the specialist skills; we’ve had one for the railways and if you are going to launch energy conservation schemes, of the kind we do, you’ve got to have people trained in plumbing and the related skills.”

The fund will be managed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, and the Skills Funding Agency.

Professional employers’ bodies and trade associations are being invited to submit proposals on how the money can be invested.

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