Engineering firms are being offered a share of a £10m match funding pot to develop company-specific training.
The government scheme, open to SME engineering firms with fewer than 250 employees, has released the first £2.5m tranche of the £10m fund.
The Government has promised that successful bidders can receive their funding offer within less than five weeks of applying.
Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “A company’s greatest asset is its people and making sure they have the right skills is vital in supporting the long-term economic plan. This funding gives employers the power to unlock the full potential of their workforce by designing and developing training catered to their specific needs.
“I encourage all small and medium sized engineering firms to consider how they could use this funding to take their business to the next level.”
This training fund forms part of a £30m government response to professor Perkins’ review of engineering skills.
In 2013 the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published a report that highlighted the lack of engineering skills among the younger workforce.
The first two tranches of funding were targeted at improving engineering careers and developing women engineers.
Companies will be able to include staff wages costs as part of their project costs. The minimum funding threshold for this scheme has been lowered from £40,000 to £10,000 – with a view to include more small firms.
Tim Thomas, head of Skills and Employment Policy at EEF, said: “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.
“This makes the scheme far more accessible and reflects more realistically the amount many smaller companies may be able to invest in skills and training. It recognises the fact that many SMEs want to do more and provides solid support to help them achieve this.”
Applications will remain open until February 27, or until funds are allocated. To find out more visit https:// www.gov.uk/government/publications/employer-ownership-improving-engineering-careers-smaller-companies .