Small Businesses to Get £10 Million Engineering Boost

Business Secretary To Announce Cash To Bolster Skills

03.11.2014

Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

Business secretary Vince Cable is reportedly preparing to make £10 million available to small engineering companies to boost skills.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Cable is planning the measure by using the final part of the £30 million fund set up to establish partnerships for employee skill training between the government and innovative companies.

Much of the money already allocated is being used for larger firms at present, such as South West Water, where an ageing workforce means the need for skills in the years ahead will be considerable. In that instance, around 40 per cent of staff are due to reach retirement age in the next ten years.

However, Mr Cable is set to reveal that smaller companies can share in the use of the final £10 million, which will enable them to grow and to plan for the future. It is also part of government plans to make the engineering trade more attractive to young people by creating a new generation of skilled engineers.

This will involve seeking to change attitudes and perceptions among young people themselves, as well as teachers and parents.

It follows the announcement last month that around 700 employers had signed up to a government scheme to design 76 new apprenticeships as part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' apprenticeship trailblazers programme.

Speaking about that initiative, Mr Cable said: "Across the country, apprenticeships are a driving force behind getting young people the skills that employers want and the economy needs.

"Our reforms have empowered businesses large and small to design and deliver world-beating apprenticeships that offer a real route to a successful career."

He added that the UK is now on track to have two million apprenticeships in place, with the first tranche of trailblazer schemes being launched in October 2013 and the second in March this year.

Expert Opinion
The Government has on numerous occasions referred to small businesses as the lifeblood of the economy, but it is important to remember that many growing companies which fall into this bracket often need support in order to get on the road to success.

"The help being offered to engineering firms is an important step towards ensuring the sector continues to thrive across the coming years and those entering the sector are able to develop their skills and talent.

"We would urge small businesses to consider if they are eligible for this support, while they should always be open and consider advice from other third parties to push their operations forward. Legal support is a necessity in this regard."
Steven Beahan, Partner