by Ashley Curtis on March 9, 2011

posted on boyce recruitment updates,

£50 million for skills boost, says government

£50 million per year has been pledged by the government to boost skills and avoid shortages for SMEs, HR Magazine reported.

John Hayes, the minister for skills, and Vince Cable, the secretary of state for business, have launched the Growth Investment Fund (GIF) – which plans to help employer groups “overcome barriers to growth within their sectors and industries.”

The funding is set to deliver new training for those with jobs in London and the rest of the UK, which will boost innovation, productivity and enable industries to set new professional standards.

The department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will invest up to £50 million per year in partnership with businesses, adding to the total investment alongside the government’s initial pledge of £100 million.

Vince Cable confirmed the motivation behind the pledge, claiming: “This government understands that to rebalance and grow our economy, we need to tackle the skills shortages that hold companies back.”

“Through this fund, we will support employers that take collective action to overcome these blockages to expansion. By putting the employer voice at the heart of the process we will reward inventive approaches to training that deliver really help to get business moving.”

However, Unite’s assistant general secretary, Tony Burke, has warned that the investment could be too little, too late for some businesses: “The government’s announcement is yet another ‘knee jerk’ reaction to a problem Unite has been warning about for a number of years.”

“While any help to boost skills is welcome, the problem is this government has no long-term strategy on skills which is what we really need in manufacturing,” he added on UnitetheUnion.org.