Plant & Works Engineering

EEF welcomes news that multi-million engineering skills fund will now be open to SMEs

Published:  16 December, 2014

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, welcomes news that the first £2.5 million of £10 million matched funding through the Government’s Employer Ownership Fund is now being made available to SMEs.

The scheme will give smaller engineering employers 50% matched funding for training projects designed to address skills shortages affecting their business. While the minimum grant available to larger companies is £40,000, this has been dropped to £10,000 for SMEs, making the scheme more accessible to smaller businesses. In addition, the funding will also allow for staff costs during training.

Tim Thomas, head of skills and employment policy at EEF, says: “We are delighted that this scheme has now been opened to SME employers and that the minimum grant, which a company would need to match with their own money, has been dropped to £10,000. This makes the scheme far more accessible and reflects more realistically the amount many smaller companies may be able to invest in skills and training. It recognises the fact that many SMEs want to do more and provides solid support to help them achieve this.

“A number of SMEs had expressed concerns about the threshold being set too high as this would restrict their ability to take part – it’s clear that the Government has taken this message on board. This is particularly important for our sector, with the majority of UK manufacturing businesses falling into the SME camp.”