Wednesday, October 31, 2018

News: SCR Skills Bank on its way back

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Contracting is underway for a managing agent for a follow up phase for the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Skills Bank.

The Skills Bank was designed to give employers greater purchasing power and control in how Government funded training is accessed. The aim is to create a demand-led skills system and encourage companies to co-invest in skills support for their own employees. It stems from a strategic aim to increase the number of high productivity jobs in the SCR.

Part of the SCR Growth Hub offer to businesses, the project includes a contribution from European funding, private sector contributions and resources ring-fenced from the Government's Adult Education Budget as agreed in the SCR Growth Deal.

The contract for the first phase of the scheme came to an end in March and procurement is underway as the Skills Bank transitions into its second phase, maintaining its core ethos of providing access to funding to support training to promote growth.

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The £5.4m contract via the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is for a company or organisation to set up, manage and run the second phase. Multinational professional services company, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) were the managing agent for the first phase.

The service will be required to carry out initial triage of employer skills, sign post employers to the existing provision that is available and provide, through sub-contractors, tailored learning solutions to meet the skills priorities of employers in the SCR and their employees. Through subcontractors and referral partners, the Skills Bank will deliver a broad range of qualifications, units and bespoke training packages for SCR businesses, where employers' needs cannot be met/funded from existing public or commercial skills provision.

Reed in Partnership and Manchester Growth Company are understood to be submitting bids.

Over 600 deals where done with SCR businesses in Skills Bank 1, with 9.000 learners supported.

Last year, the SCR Local Enterprise Partnership were dismayed by changes made by the Government that "threaten to unbalance the Skills Bank programme and introduce a number of risks to current delivery activity due to the insistence that Growth Deal funding be used ahead of European funding."

SCR Growth Hub website

Images: SCR

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