By Daniel Hunter

Liverpool City Region’s new Skills for Growth Bank, which uniquely gives business owners control over the funding and design of skills training, is to be showcased at the first Small Business Summit held by the Federation of Small Businesses.

The Skills for Growth Bank is a new £32 million venture providing investments of between £1,000 and £1 million for employers in the Liverpool City Region to use alongside their own training budgets to boost workforce skills and productivity.

Unlike traditional public funding for skills the new idea, backed by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), places local businesses in charge of the purse strings and enables them to decide and buy what skills their employees, apprentices and even jobseekers need.

It will give businesses full control to invest in the skills their workplaces need to grow. In addition, it is intended that the bank will help 6,000 local people into work and create as many as 4,000 apprenticeships.

The Skills for Growth Bank will be showcased during a skills funding presentation at the FSB’s Summit, which is being held at Liverpool John Moores University’s (LJMU’s) John Lennon Art and Design Building on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 from 8.30am-5.30pm.

Elaine Moore, Chairman of FSB Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan, said: “In addition to addressing the barriers businesses face the FSB’s Small Business Summit has been designed to help entrepreneurs find solutions to their problems.

“Business owners often struggle to recruit staff with the specific skills sets they need — Liverpool City Region’ s Skills for Growth bank tackles this challenge head-on, giving employers direct control over the funding and design of training programmes in a unique way that compliments their existing skills development work."

Asif Hamid, Chief Executive of The Contact Company, led on the original proposal to Government. He said: “As Vice-Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership, I meet employers all the time who say that one of the big things holding back their growth potential is being able to get the right set of skills into their businesses. So we have created the Skills for Growth Bank so that they can take charge of public skills funding and ensure that young people leaving school, people looking for work and those already in their business can have world-class skills training that helps their business grow.”

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