Partnership promises to reduce industry skills gap

Posted on 28 May 2008 by The Manufacturer

Semta, the sector skills council for the science, engineering and manufacturing technologies sector, has announced details of a new £65 million partnership with government to deliver desperately needed skills training for workers.

The council’s research has shown that a lack of skilled workers is costing the country around £700 million a year in lost productivity.

Through Semta, companies can access grants of between £500 and £1,800 per employee depending on the qualifications and training required. Support will be aimed mainly at the development of lean manufacturing skills to increase the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized companies.

The companies who should reap the most benefit from the scheme will be those with less than 250 employees who may struggle to determine how skills investment can improve their business. Semta advisors will help them identify skills needs, set improvement targets and measure the impact. Unlike larger companies, they will also be eligible for grants to develop management and leadership.

The new agreement will allow participating employers to train through programmes including Train to Gain and Apprenticeships, and existing workers of all ages will be able to learn new or more advanced skills.

The £65 million will be available from the Train to Gain budget; up to 30 per cent of the budget for level 2 and level 3 learning will now be available to train employees who already hold GCSE or A-level equivalents but who need more specific, or more up-to-date, business qualifications.

“Our partnership with government will deliver real economic benefits to science, engineering and manufacturing. To overcome significant skills gaps and make businesses more competitive, employers need access to funding for innovative programmes like Business Improvement Techniques. These not only upskill workers in a sustainable way, they also put employees on the qualifications ladder and provide measurable bottom line profits from quality, cost and delivery,” explained Semta chief executive Philip Whiteman.

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