Pilot scheme giving employers responsibility to develop UK skills training set to create thousands of apprenticeships and work placements

Employers are being asked to dream up and deliver more flexible training schemes to hone the development of British workers' skills following the Government launch of a new pilot scheme.

It is expected the Employer Ownership pilot will generate thousands of apprenticeships, full-time training opportunities and work experience placements.

The scheme hands the responsibility and funding for part of the UK's skills development to businesses through direct state grants in return for co-investment from the participating companies.

A total of 34 top employers in a variety of sectors put together successful bids to take part in the pilot. The first round of grants sees 67 million handed out by the Government with the employers contributing an extra 98 million to fund training schemes.

One car manufacturer is seeking to meet the skills shortage in the industry by putting together 14 different training programmes for over 3,000 staff from within the company and at its suppliers.

Other employers taking part include those from the food, electrical engineering and aerospace sectors.

Meanwhile an academy offering school leavers one-to-one coaching, work experience, qualifications and employability skills is being proposed by a UK airport.

It is hoped the first phase of Employer Ownership, part of an overall strategy to make UK firms more competitive, will create 11,000 apprenticeships, 49,000 work experience placements and 27,000 full-time vocational training opportunities across the UK.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which will be running the pilot for skills in professional services, says the programme will streamline the procurement of training by cutting the red tape and complexities employers have previously had to cope with.

PwC partner Sara Caplan said the pilot would put employers or workers with professional service skills such as accounting, tax, HR and consulting in control, giving businesses "real choice about how to put government investment in training to the best use in their business".

She added said it would "take the lottery out of identifying and administrating the right training, sourcing funding and providers" and level the playing field for both large and small and medium sized firms to develop and deliver a range of business skills. "Employers will decided how to spend funding, what to spend it on and what format they want training in," she said.

Copyright Press Association 2012