Skills Minister Matthew Hancock announced the second round of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) today, a training fund launched in September to promote a two-way street of investment between employees and businesses.
The pilot scheme is currently distributing about £70 million to companies including Nissan, Whitbread and GE Aviation. Projects range from extending skills training to local suppliers, to doubling the number of female apprentices.
The EOP is designed to provide funding for schemes that train employees not just within their own company but also within their company’s supply chains. On Monday BAE Systems announced a plan to train its key suppliers’ staff.
The Department for Innovation, Business and Skills says that government investment in EOP for rounds one and two now totals £250 million.
“This is a unique opportunity for companies across all industries to secure their futures by addressing their skills needs now,” said the skills minister.
“I would encourage businesses – large and small – to be ambitious and innovative in their vision for how the fund can help them grow, from creating new apprenticeship programmes to setting up specialist training academies.
MR Hancock confirmed that Channel 4 and the BBC have been successful in their joint round one bid with Creative Skillset to attract a wider range of young people into television production and creative technology.
“The Employer Ownership Pilot is not only strengthening individual businesses. It is showing us new ways to make sure the whole of the UK economy has the skills it needs to compete in the global race,” Hancock added.
The other 34 successful round one projects were announced in September. These included Nissan’s programme to bridge the skills gap for more than 3,600 technical staff, new recruits and supply chain workers involved in producing new models and working with evolving technologies.
The activity will contribute to Nissan’s launch of four new models in the next two years and a battery factory as the North East’s automotive industry grows.
This ‘supplier skills risk mitigation’ approach to training programmes is expected to gain popularity.
“Today’s announcements show we are finally moving towards a demand-led approach to skills, where the employer is in the driving seat,” said Tim Thomas, EEF’s head of employment and skills policy.
“We know that firms are looking to increase their investment in skills and we need to make it easier for them to do this. The focus of round two should be on encouraging more creative and ambitious bids involving businesses of all sizes, with firms collaborating with their suppliers and customers on joint bids.”