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February 08, 2013

£240 million in training grants available for businesses

Businesses of all sizes and from all sectors can apply for a share of up to £240 million to create training programmes that address their specific skills needs.

This opportunity represents round two of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP), originally launched in November 2011. Round one of the scheme has already committed around £90 million and leveraged £115 million from companies including Siemens and AJ Woods Engineering. Projects have included delivering pre-employment training and apprenticeships.

Firms can now apply for second round funding — applications will close on 28 March. Application forms and guidance can be found on the UK Commission for Employment and Skills website (UKCES) as well as details of existing projects.

The Employer Ownership Pilot is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Education. It routes public investment directly to employers so they can design and deliver more flexible training packages.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “This is a major opportunity for responsible and ambitious employers to step up and get the training they need for long-term growth. I would urge businesses of all sizes, across all sectors, to get involved.”

Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: “With applications for round two now open, I would urge businesses — particularly small companies — to consider how the fund can help them grow, from creating new apprenticeship programmes to setting up specialist training academies.”

Total government investment in EOP for rounds one and two is £340 million.