The government has made available £10 million to give small and medium sized engineering companies the means to develop the skills of their workforces. Businesses with fewer than 250 employees can apply for a share of the first fund release of £2.5 million to develop new company specific training programmes.
Applicants have until the 27th February to apply for the fund after which point the additional £7.5 million will be released providing the demand is there. It makes up part of a larger £30 million fund the balance of which was used for investment in skills, improving careers as well as development of female engineers.
The focus on small and medium businesses for this final round of funding is to give those companies the best chance to develop and retain their workforce and take their business to the next level. With a reduced minimum funding threshold the hope is response will be high.
Tim Thomas, head of skills and employment policy at EEF, added: "We are delighted that this scheme has now been opened to SME employers and that the minimum grant, which a company would need to match with their own money, has been dropped to £10,000.”
The lower threshold is far more representative of what small and medium sized companies could invest in training and skill development. It also acknowledges that SMEs want to do more and provides solid support to help them achieve it.
This training fund will have an extremely positive impact on the long term economic plan. The hope is that businesses will grow as their work force develops and attract new employees looking for the opportunity to train. Electus welcomes this new incentive as the demand versus the availability of skilled engineers is a problem that needs to be addressed.