Tuesday, April 5, 2016

News: £17m Skills Bank readied for business


Multinational professional services company, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has been appointed as operators of the Sheffield City Region Skills Bank, a £17m fund which will be used to upskill employees across the Sheffield City Region.

The existing Skills Bank, which gives employers greater purchasing power and control in how Government funded training is accessed, is also being enhanced through devolution deals with the Government.

Operating from Spring 2016 until March 2018, the Skills Bank is the facility for improving the skills base of the workforce and aligns the public investment facilitated through the Skills Bank to economic growth outcomes, such as job creation, business creation and increasing Gross Value Added (GVA) which supports delivery of the Local Enterprise Partnership's Strategic Economic Plan.

With headline figures to help deliver an additional 70,000 new jobs; increase GVA by 10% and create an additional 6,000 new businesses over the next ten years, the plan also outlined a vision to fundamentally change the relationship between the suppliers of the skills system, colleges and training organisations and its customers, the businesses who need the skills to deliver economic prosperity.

The aim is to create a demand-led skills system funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and Growth Funding from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).


Securing the tender, PwC is managing and running the Skills Bank and is responsible for employer engagement and marketing, triage and brokerage service, the procurement of education and training, contract and financial management and the management of reporting activities.

Procurement has been ongoing for training providers to join the Skills Bank Framework. A new website for businesses has recently been launched with an online marketplace fto help employers select training providers.

As part of the latest devolution deal proposals, the Sheffield city region will work with Government to "deliver an integrated skills and training system across the local area, driven by the needs of the economy and led by the private sector, giving local businesses the skilled labour they need to grow."

It includes devolved responsibilities that will enable the region to work with the Skills Funding Agency to recommission provision using the adult skills budget and grants for apprenticeships. This means that training for people aged over 19 in Sheffield city region will be co-ordinated in the region based on the particular needs of local people and the needs of local businesses.

From 2018/19, the Sheffield City Region is expecting full devolution of funding for the 19+ adult skills budget.

An area based review is also taking place regarding education, skills and training for 16-18 year olds so that the skills and training available in the Sheffield city region meets the needs of the local economy and local businesses.

Sheffield City Region Skills Bank website

Images: Sheffield City Region Skills Bank


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