Businesses receive 67m in funding to design their own training programmes in first round of Employer Ownership Project

The Government has announced that a total of 34 businesses were successful in their applications for the first round of the Employer Ownership Project (EOP).

EOP is a new scheme which offers employers in England the chance to design their own vocational training programmes, which could give them the confidence to invest and grow and also create thousands of job opportunities for young people.

It is overseen by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education.

The employers will be given a share of 67 million to set up the programmes and they will also invest nearly 100 million themselves.

Business Secretary Vince Cable made the announcement when he launched the Government's Industrial Strategy at Imperial College in London this week.

He said: "This fund underlines our commitment to strengthening the economy and making sure that the UK workforce has the skills that businesses need.

"On a recent fact-finding trip to Germany I saw first hand how forward-thinking companies were enjoying the benefits of training their supply chain companies, so I am particularly excited that we have received a number of bids to do the same in the UK.

"The breadth and scope of these projects show how central skills are to our long-term competitiveness, across all sectors and in all corners of the country. I am delighted that these employers have taken this challenge."

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "Britain must have the skills Britain's employers need. By giving businesses the chance to shape and set their own training agenda, we're giving them the power to enrich their workforce with the skills needed for their future success."

The first round of the EOP scheme is expected to lead to the creation of 11,000 apprenticeships, including 4,400 for 16-18 year olds.

In addition, it could generate 27,000 full-time equivalent non-apprenticeship vocational training opportunities, as well as 49,000 other learning or training opportunities, including work experience and work placements.

Charlie Mayfield, chairman of UKCES, said: "We want to encourage employers to take the lead in designing, developing and delivering the training and employment solutions they need."

Copyright Press Association 2012