By Marcus Leach
Business Secretary Vince Cable will today (Thursday) set out how new investment of more than £20 million will boost skills and drive growth in key industries including nuclear manufacturing, renewable energy and healthcare.
£11 million of Government matched funding, awarded following the first round of bids to the Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF), will enable employers to deliver more effective skills solutions through more apprenticeships, new professional standards and closer partnerships with education and training providers.
Speaking in advance of his keynote address at the WorldSkills competition in London, which celebrates the achievements of highly skilled young people, Dr Cable said economic recovery depends on such investments.
“Sustained economic recovery will depend on our ability to excel in the high tech skills that our most innovative companies need to compete in the globalised economy," he said.
“That is why this Government is committed to skilling up our workforce through work based training. By providing concentrated seed funding for employer led projects that attract further investment from business, we’re targeting money where it will be best placed to drive growth.”
Skills Minister John Hayes said backed this, adding that businesses are key to boosting growth.
“We know that business is best qualified to identify how skills can drive growth. This investment will help employers develop their own solutions to the barriers that stand in the way of opportunity,” Mr Hayes said.
The following sectors will immediately benefit from GIF funding; co-investment from employer groups could double the figures specified below:
RenewableUK, the wind, wave and tidal energy trade association, is establishing a Renewables Training Network (RTN) to tackle the critical shortage of skilled workers in green energy industries. The RTN will create 2,000 places on training courses specifically tailored to those wanting to make the transition into the renewable energy sector, focusing particularly on mature skilled workers wishing to retrain. Working with employers, universities and colleges, the RTN aims to bridge the skills gap to help build a new low carbon economy, making the most of the UK’s abundant sources of renewable energy.
People 1st will create a Hospitality Guild which will broker 500 new apprenticeship places, introduce four voluntary licence to practise schemes and help 15,000 unemployed people to find work.
Science based industries
Cogent will deliver an Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) for the science based industries which will increase apprenticeship numbers in Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and deliver over 1000 new apprenticeships by 2017.
A Life Sciences Skills Pathway will provide over 400 new higher level apprenticeships, 500 individuals receiving technician training and 1500 work ready graduates through an employability kite marking scheme.
An SME Gold Standard competency framework, a tool to help SMEs assess the capabilities of their employees, will increase training in SMEs by £100 per employee by 2015. By 2017 the sector will have over 1000 SMEs pledged to the Gold Standard.
Energy & Utility Skills
EU Skills will establish a Talent Bank for the gas, power, waste management and water industries. The Talent Bank will provide a skills brokerage service, a vacancy matching service and launch a voluntary levy. This will create 400 new Apprenticeship places and support the training of 400 high skilled technicians by 2014.
Skillset will develop a quality assurance framework to ensure clearly signposted training and help identify high quality job applicants. By 2013 over 200 Higher Education courses will have been assessed including HE Undergraduate, Postgraduate and level 4 courses.
Skills Active will create a Group Training Association for the Sport & Active leisure sector that will help employers shape and invest in training. It aims to increase the volume of apprentices from 11,000 to 18,000 per year.
Skills Active will also deliver projects designed to improve the access to specialist training and qualifications for workers in the playwork and fitness & leisure sectors. Investment: £426,934
Lantra will develop a new Professional Standards Framework, allowing employers to identify the skills they require to meet business objectives including leadership and management skills.
The Employment Related Services Association will create an Institute of Employability Professionals which will act as a regulatory body for the development and maintenance of quality standards, in addition to developing a voluntary licence to practise scheme.
The National Skills Academy for Nuclear will deliver a specific skills training system for manufacturing within the nuclear sector, particularly focussed on SMEs and the supply chain.
A new National Skills Academy for Health will help meet skills gaps, skills shortages and occupational shortages in pharmacy, midwifery, occupational health, and facilities management.
Creative and Cultural Skills
A National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills will improve training by forging new links between employers and training providers in creative and cultural industries in three new sectors — design, jewellery and heritage.
Work is now being undertaken on the development of future rounds of GIF, which will deliver up to £50m of government investment per year. An announcement will be made later this year regarding investment for 2012.