The Government are clear that in order for the UK to compete globally, we must have a world-class skills base across all sectors. The Government recognise that employers and professional representative bodies are best placed to devise and deliver the skills the British work force needs. This demand-led model was given life by the publication of “Skills for Sustainable Growth” in November 2010. “New Challenges New Chances” published in December 2011 reaffirmed our approach and set out Government's plans for skills to 2015.
Government fully accept there is still more to do. The Employer Ownership Pilot was launched on
The first round of bids was received in April for a share of the £250 million fund which will route public investment directly to employers. 269 bids were received from businesses looking to design and develop their own vocational training programmes. Bids are seeking a total of around £400 million of public investment in this first round of the pilot.
We are continuing the important work to improve and expand apprenticeships, particularly at Levels 3 and 4 to ensure that the British work force has the skills required at intermediate technician and associate professional level.
To help create apprenticeship opportunities, and to grow the programme among small and medium-sized enterprises, in April this year Government introduced incentive payments of £1,500 for small employers who take on their first new apprentice aged 16-24. The total number of incentive places available in 2012/13 is 40,000.