The UK Commission has taken the first steps from grant based funding towards investment funding. It marks a radical change in the way we work. So what exactly will it achieve?
It will create a new mindset amongst those seeking public funding. Investing means we want something in return: specific; targeted; measurable action to address skills issues.
It will bring a new approach in targeting where our funding goes. All of our investment decisions are made by our Commissioners: a group of high-profile leaders from large, small and medium enterprises from the public, private and voluntary sectors. All are committed to investing in the skills of people to drive, enterprise, jobs and growth.
It will mean a change in the way we fund Sector Skills Councils (SSCs). We will no longer fund them simply for being SSCs. Our new approach is a competitive model where we invest only in ideas that will have impact where it is most needed.
It will widen who can apply. All employer representative bodies can apply for some strands of funding.
We will only be investing in innovative ideas that tell us:
What the problem is > What the solution is > What difference it will make
So far, we have committed almost £12m of our investment budget. It could have been more. Not committing all of the funding at our disposal has met with some criticism but we make no apology for this. It signals our Commissioners’ intention to only invest when convinced the solution is employer driven and will have real impact. In future, bidders will need to clearly demonstrate employer driven, innovative solutions that will make a real and demonstrable difference for the employers and individuals that they represent.
Several of the projects we invested in are already up and running. By the end of October I expect us to have invested in 24 projects with 15 organisations. We take our responsibility for investing public money seriously and will be tracking progress to ensure our investments are working and where they are not, take decisive action.
I am extremely optimistic about our investments so far. We have seen some great ideas and I am excited about the potential they hold. The UK Commission’s Assistant Director (Investment), Theresa McDermott, will soon begin a regular blog to provide updates on our investment work and how the projects are progressing.
From now on the UK Commission will be making investments. This means we want something in return for our funding. I believe in time our investments will raise skill levels to help drive enterprise, create more and better jobs and economic growth.
If you are interested in learning more about the investment work of the UK Commission, you can visit the following:
Image: £20 Holograms by austinevan