North East welcomes plans for Growth and Innovation Fund

The Business Secretary will today set out plans for the Growth and Innovation Fund, set to help employers drive up professional standards through educational partnerships.

The government plans to provide £11 million of matched funding to the first round of applicants in 11 key sectors, in the hope of improving skills to boost economic growth.

Nuclear manufacturing, health, hospitality and the creative industries are set to be the main benefactors of the fund, as well as several other key growth areas.

Speaking at the WorldSkills competition in London, Dr Cable commented: “Sustained economic recovery will depend on our ability to excel in the high tech skills that our most innovative companies need to compete in the globalised economy.

“By providing concentrated seed funding for employer led projects that attract further investment from businesses, we’re targeting money where it will be best placed to drive growth.”

Tony Sarginson of EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation welcomed the announcement. He commented: “Given the amount of funding beyond apprenticeships is limited, not to mention wider public resources, this will be a helpful boost for skills investment in the North East. I

“In particular, it will help ensure that funding is being directed into high value areas that will provide growth in the future and where there are currently skills shortages such as energy and the low carbon economy.”

The government is now looking to develop further rounds of Growth and Innovation Funding, and hope to deliver up to £50 million of investment annually.

Skills Minister John Hayes added: “We know that business is best qualified to identify how skills can drive growth.

“This investment will help employers develop their own solutions to the barriers that stand in the way of opportunity.”

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