Skills funding race

Posted on 23 Feb 2011 by The Manufacturer

Cogent urges employers to act quickly as sector skills councils open new doors to skills funding for a limited time only and Train to Gain shuts up shop.

Sector Skills Council Cogent has joined forces with the National Skills Academy Process Industries (the Academy) and with private enterprise to secure over £2m of support for training in the Cogent sector.

The new Joint Investment Programme (JIP) aims to create a fund which will contribute up to 50% of the costs of training across a range of qualifications considered to have strategic importance.

The news comes to employers at a crucial stage for skills planning. The last learners to benefit from Train to Gain Funding will complete their training by July this year and until now it has been unclear how employers would find support for future employee development. Sector Skills Councils and Skills Academies across sectors will be looked to step into the breach.

The Coalition Government has been explicit in removing state financial support and asking employers to fund their own training however the new model of JIPs will be a relief to smaller employers and training advocates. Many of these industry spokespeople have voiced fears over the last year that the move towards employer and individual employee responsibility for professional development would cause investment in training to shrink when SMEs are still struggling to recover from the effects of recession.

JIPs will take shape as organisational development funds specifically aimed at training programmes seen as being essential to the UK economy and will be deployed in direct response to employer demand. Cogent is one of only five sector skills cuncils to receive JIP funding and the project has been split into two years.

Employers that expressed an early interest in the programme have already received funding allocations for the first year. However, if employers act quickly then there are still funded places available for year one.

Year one qualifications eligable for JIP support are:

•Business Improvement Techniques – Level 3

•Diploma in Jetty Operations

•Certificate in First Line Management – Level 3

•Diploma in Management – Level 4

•Diploma in Operations & Technical Support in the Process Industries

•Certificate in Process Technology

•NVQ Diploma in Process Engineering Maintenance

Cogent has warned that availability for Year 1 courses is limited and training must be delivered through Academy Accredited providers. Furthermore, training must begin before 31July 2011 to take advantage of JIP funding, though employees will have up to 12 months to complete their training.
As the only funding available from August onwards the demand is highly likely to out-weigh supply and pro-active employers should register their interest as early as possible.

If you are an employer and would like to find out further information contact Karen Brown at the Skills Academy on 01325 740 900.
JIP Criteria:

•Funding is only available for employers based in England

•Funding is for Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) qualifications only

•Training is only available through specific Academy Accredited Training Providers