By Daniel Hunter

Siemens, Sembcorp and Nissan are some of the 34 businesses that have successfully bid to design the vocational training programmes they need to grow and create tens of thousands of opportunities for young people, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced today (Tuesday).

They are the first round of winners taking part in the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP). They will receive a share of £67 million and will more than match the funding by investing a combined total of £98 million.

Included within the round one projects are radical proposals from Siemens, Arla Foods UK and BAE Systems to train employees not just within their own company but also within their supply chains.

Others include Manchester Airport‘s proposal to create an academy for school leavers, offering 1-2-1 coaching, employability skills, work experience and qualifications. Nissan is addressing skills shortages in the automotive industry by designing 14 training programmes for over 3000 staff, within the company and at local suppliers.

The announcement was made as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

“This fund underlines our commitment to strengthening the economy and making sure that the UK workforce has the skills that businesses need," Business Secretary Vince Cable said.

“On a recent fact-finding trip to Germany I saw first hand how forward-thinking companies were enjoying the benefits of training their supply chain companies, so I am particularly excited that we have received a number of bids to do the same in the UK.

“The breadth and scope of these projects show how central skills are to our long-term competitiveness, across all sectors and in all corners of the country. I am delighted that these employers have taken this challenge.”

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said:

“Britain must have the skills Britain’s employers need.

“By giving businesses the chance to shape and set their own training agenda, we’re giving them the power to enrich their workforce with the skills needed for their future success.”

As well as supporting businesses and giving them the confidence to invest and grow, the Employer Ownership Pilot will create life changing opportunities for thousands of young people. The first round of co-investment is expected to generate:

· 11,000 apprenticeships, including 4400 for 16-18 year olds

· 27,000 full time equivalent non-apprenticeship vocational training opportunities

· 49,000 other learning or training opportunities, including work experience and work placements

Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, which is overseeing the scheme, said:

“We want to encourage employers to take the lead in designing, developing and delivering the training and employment solutions they need.

“I am delighted that so many employers submitted high quality bids to do just that, and I look forward to us supporting more of these in future rounds of the scheme.”

Toby Peyton-Jones, Director of Human Resources at Siemens plc said:

“Siemens is delighted to be part of this pioneering scheme which makes employers the authors for defining and developing the skills they need.

“We are a major employer in the UK and we spend £2.3bn on our UK supply chain annually securing 25,000 jobs. This pilot will help us pass on important skills to our UK suppliers and further strengthen our UK operations.”

George Ritchie, Senior Vice President Regional HR, Sembcorp Industries, said:

“We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the employer-led projects given the opportunity to design our own innovative framework reflecting the way our industrial partners want their apprentice training delivered.

“We are proud to work alongside our nominated delivery provider the National Skills Academy for the Process Industries and project partners including the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), Tees Valley Unlimited as our LEP, the National Apprenticeship Service and others, plus a wide range of partner process industry companies, most of whom are members of NEPIC.”

The Employer Ownership Pilot will give businesses access to up to a total of £250 million over two years, with more successful bidders being announced in October, and a further bidding round to be launched in the autumn.

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