Managing skills for growth

Posted on 8 Apr 2011 by The Manufacturer

Government has pledged £20m to the support of management training for individuals in SMEs in order to fill a major shortfall in business skills for growth.

The government funding for entrepreneurial growth, announced yesterday, will enable around 13,000 small and medium sized enterprises to access a Leadership and Management development grant. This important funding pledge recognises the fact that appropriate management skills are holding many UK firms back and were identified by a Chartered Management Institute survey in late 2010 as an area for low confidence coming into 2011.

The new government money being thrown at this issue will be made available in match funded grants of up to £1,000 which can be spent on leadership training and coaching that will develop the right skills to allow strategic goals to be realised. The programme also includes a free consultation with an expert adviser before the training commences, as well as a free follow-up to discuss the impact of the training and any further skills needs.

As he announced the new funding allocations Skills Minister, John Hayes said: “This Government will back businesses that want to boost their skills. We’re spending more than ever on apprenticeships, freeing up training providers from red tape, and focusing public spending where it is most needed to drive growth. Effective leadership can make the difference between survival and growth, and this fund will give vital support to entrepreneurs who want to continue to develop their businesses.”

The funding for management and leadership development will come as welcome news to industry leaders like Andrew Churchill, managing director of engineering firm JJ Churchill. A regular contributor to TM and a vocal spokesperson for manufacturing Mr Churchill commented at The Manufacturer Director’s Conference 2010 on the barriers to growth in British business and cited lack of strategic leadership in promising entrepreneurial manufacturing organisations as a major contributing factor.

The £20m pot to rectify this problem is available to qualifying SMEs startng this month and can be accessed through regional Leadership and Management Advisory Services. Details of individual Services can be found at

Geoff Russell, chief executive, Skills Funding Agency, which will be largely responsible for he funding allocation and administration commented: “Skills are critical to the future development of businesses. By offering a helping hand to thousands of organisations we expect to see more leaders develop the skills they need to help their businesses achieve their potential.”