In September I posted about our first steps in making a radical change in the way we work; moving from a grant based funding approach towards investing in innovation and sector leadership. Last week we reached another important milestone on our journey with the announcement of over £150 million of investment to drive employer-led skills solutions and boost growth.
On Wednesday, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Minister for Skills John Hayes announced the re-opening of the Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF). GIF is led by the Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and the UK Commission, Charlie Mayfield, who is supported by six UK Commissioners and senior officials from the Skills Funding Agency and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Open to a wide range of employer representative bodies, GIF will co-invest up to £34 million in 2012-13 in innovative skill solutions with comparable levels of investment planned for the following two years.
On Thursday, we announced £61 million of investment in Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) through the Employer Investment Fund. This investment will deliver a range of employer designed and led skills solutions across all four nations of the UK. It represents a major shift away from grant funding of SSCs to promoting specific employer-driven work and marks the start of a new relationship between the UK Commission and SSCs.
These funds demonstrate our strong commitment to employer ownership of skills in action. Through combined public and employer investment they enable employers, with the support of their industry and sector bodies, to work with employees, colleges and training providers to devise innovative and sustainable skills solutions. This will help to re-establish genuine employer ownership of the skills agenda.
If you, or an organisation you work with, have an idea for an innovative skills solution which has the potential to make a real impact on growth then I’d encourage you to apply to the GIF to make that transformation happen as quickly as possible.
To read more about our investment funds or view the investments already made, please visit our investment page.