Last updated: 22.02.13

Manchester firms to benefit from £20m training fund

Businesses in Greater Manchester are set to benefit from a share of £20 million that is being rolled out to help with training.

As part of a partnership between the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and think tank New Economy, a new skills strategy is being developed for the region to ensure employees' skills match the needs of their company, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The two bodies lodged a successful bid that saw the generation of the cash injection - the majority of which has come from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills - which has been named the Employer Ownership of Skills Fund and is due to launch later this month.

Chamber chief executive Clive Memmott claimed it has been clear for some time that skills funding must become more responsive to the needs of employers. "Employer Ownership of Skills gives employers the opportunity to have more influence over how public money is spent," he was quoted as saying.

Manchester firms are being invited to apply for a slice of the money, which they will then need to invest in training and developing their existing and future workers.

Furthermore, a free event taking place at the city's Etihad Stadium on the morning of February 28th will be informing local organisations of the fund and providing them with the opportunity to point out where skills gaps exist in the area.

Any firms that attend are also likely to be interested in the launch of a carbon literacy course created by West Yorkshire-based e-learning provider Virtual College, which is taking place at the Arndale Centre between March 7th and 9th.

Mr Memmott explained he believes the £20 million investment can be used to develop Greater Manchester's new markets and exciting low-carbon, high-end engineering and digital projects are already underway.

"What I want now are more opportunities to come forward, so that we can assist businesses to get the best out of the skills system," he concluded.