Thursday, May 1, 2014

News: Manufacturers taking ownership of training

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Employers in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector in the Sheffield city region are working together to take ownership of addressing skills issues.

KOSTAL, the German firm which develops and manufactures technologically advanced electronic, electromechanical and mechatronic products and has its UK base in Goldthorpe, which is in Barnsley, has secured part of a £5m government fund that gives funding direct to businesses, enabling them to raise skills, create jobs, and drive enterprise and economic growth.

Under the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP), employers combine their own money with government funding, to invest in the training they need. The second wave of funding started last year and figures released this week show that the first projects will create over 5,000 traineeships.

The scheme was created in response to UK Commission for Employment and Skills (which has offices in Manvers) publishing a transformational vision for the way that we invest in skills, one which is employer owned and outcome driven.

Three companies have received £5.2m between them to fund schemes in their area. KOSTAL is leading a new advanced manufacturing programme. They will use the funding to address the skills needs identified by employers in the Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering sector in the Sheffield City Region. The project will be run by a board, chaired by KOSTAL (UK) Ltd, and made up of a number of employers from the City Region.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock, said: "Under this scheme, employers combine their own money with government funding, to invest in the training they need. It's simple, direct, and focussed. We've learnt a lot from the first rounds of funding about how to support employers, some sectors have specialist skills and it is these companies that know their training needs best. By providing them with the funding, they can build training schemes around their requirements."

KOSTAL UK operates within the global automotive industry, supplying electrical switches and modules for the interiors of many prestigious vehicle manufacturers. Customers include Audi, BMW, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Volvo and VW.

Following the success of the pilot projects, the government is establishing a new permanent employer-owned fund worth £20m, with the first call for applicants for companies in the car industry supply chain.

The Sheffield city region's manufacturers are leading the way when it comes to taking ownership of skills issues. This can be seen in the new employee led institutions such as the AMRC Training Centre and the UTC Sheffield along with the Work-Wise programme and the apprenticeship trailblazers.

Kostal website
UK Commission for Employment and Skills website

Images: KOSTAL

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