By Daniel Hunter

Companies of all sizes now have access to a total of £238 million in government funding to design and guide vocational training to meet the needs of their workforce.

Everton Football Club, Balfour Beatty and the National Grid are among a raft of names announced today who have successfully bid to take part in the design of vocational skills. Government’s contribution will be more than matched by the successful companies.

A key aim of the Industrial Strategy is to improve the skills base of the country. By working in partnership with industry these companies will help to reach that goal.

The Business Secretary will outline the benefits of this investment to an audience of business leaders at the Industrial Strategy Conference “One Year On” at Warwick University on Wednesday 11 September.

“We want the Employer Ownership Pilots to test a new approach, built around an open and flexible offer for employers. I am happy to see that businesses have taken up that challenge," Business Secretary Vince Cable said.

“The difference in these schemes is that we will channel funds through employers rather than providers. I look forward to seeing the transformation that this investment will bring to shaping the skills and training of this country’s workforce.”

Employer Ownership Pilot Round Two (EOP2) follows the first round of this pilot, which is jointly funded by BIS and Department for Education with £340 million to 2015/16.

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “This project is helping to strengthen industries that know the skills of their workforce are a driver of growth and have the capacity to place the country ahead in the global race.

“It is rewarding to see that so many businesses were interested in taking part in this programme. I look forward to them producing dependable innovative vocational training to help grow the economy.”

UK Commission for Employment and Skills Chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said: "Skills are vital to economic growth and the best people to develop them are the businesses that need them to succeed. With this pilot we are placing that responsibility in their hands and the response we've had shows there are many ready to take it.

“I'm particularly pleased that several successful bids are not from sole companies but are in effect industrial partnerships, led by forward thinking employers and including colleges and unions, and all aimed at ensuring their patch, be that a sector or a region, plays the greatest possible part in the growth of the UK economy."

Many of the bids will help deliver the skills necessary to drive our industrial strategy in sectors including construction, manufacturing, automotive and transport. The bids are aligned with the 11 sectors of the Industrial Strategy and cover a range of different business types including groups of employers coming together taking end-to-end responsibility for vocational skills in their region or sector.

One year ago the Business Secretary set out the government’s approach to industrial strategy. This is to invest and grow business by sticking to long-term plans to tackle economic weakness and instability. A whole government approach, it was designed to instil confidence for investment and improve growth. The five core areas of focus are: sectors, technologies, access to finance, skills and procurement.

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