Government funding of £2.5m is now available for engineering SMEs who need support to develop training schemes to help their businesses grow.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills claim successful bidders can receive their funding offer within five weeks of applying and companies with fewer than 250 employees can apply for a share of the match funding pot to develop innovative company-specific training.
The first two tranches of funding were targeted at Improving Engineering Careers and Developing Women Engineers. The new fund forms part of a £30m initiative that sees the government and employers join together to invest in engineering skills that was announced as a response to Professor Perkins’ review of engineering skills.
The funding will be more accessible to smaller firms and will see the minimum funding threshold being lowered from £40,000 down to £10,000. Companies will also be able to include staff wage costs as part of their project costs. The final tranche is specifically designed with small and medium sized businesses in mind.
Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “A company’s greatest asset is its people and making sure they have the right skills is vital in supporting the long-term economic plan. This funding gives employers the power to unlock the full potential of their workforce by designing and developing training catered to their specific needs.
“I encourage all small and medium sized engineering firms to consider how they could use this funding to take their business to the next level.”
Tim Thomas, head of skills and employment policy at EEF, said: “We are delighted that this scheme has now been opened to SME employers and that the minimum grant, which a company would need to match with their own money, has been dropped to £10,000. This makes the scheme far more accessible and reflects more realistically the amount many smaller companies may be able to invest in skills and training. It recognises the fact that many SMEs want to do more and provides solid support to help them achieve this.”
A further £7.5m could become available in the new year, if existing funds are fully taken up.