UKCES offers £4m for manufacturers to target skills gap

Posted on 16 Jun 2014 by Callum Bentley

Manufacturing businesses across the UK are being offered co-investment to help develop new ways of boosting management skills in their sector, it was announced today.

A total of £4 million is available through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), as part of an ongoing government-backed programme to encourage employer-led solutions to persistent skills problems.

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director of BAE Systems and a commissioner at UKCES, explained: “Our research shows that the UK lags behind its international competitors when it comes to management skills.

“It matters even more in the manufacturing sector because it’s such important part of our economy. Good management practices boost productivity, staff engagement and ultimately drive economic growth. And while the UK’s best firms may be world-leading, the sad truth is that, generally, management capability in the UK’s manufacturing firms isn’t as good as many other countries, particularly the US.

“But improved management isn’t something that can be imposed on business.  It needs to be led from within.  That’s why we’re making up to £4 million co-investment available to businesses to help them find innovative and effective ways of working with their networks or supply chains to boost management and leadership capability.”

The competition is open to organisations in the manufacturing, construction, financial and legal sectors, and the UKCES expects to invest up to £300,000 per successful proposal.

All proposals must be led and partially funded by major businesses that will work with their supply chains or networks to address issues such as:

  • Raising the capability of leaders and managers to align skills, job design and other workplace practices
  • Boosting demand for good leadership and management skills
  • Increasing the opportunities for managers to interact with one another and learn from their peers

The deadline for proposals is July 30. To find out more, including how to enter go to

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