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Government Axe Vital Funding for Leading Skills

Manufacturing Sector Reaction

Date

27/10/2020

Categories

Enginuity news, Industry news

The timing of this decision is bizarre in the extreme ... The Government needs to urgently rethink this decision

A Government decision to axe vital funding for two leading skills initiatives just as a wave of unemployment sweeps the UK has been met with ‘surprise and disappointment’ from a wide range of organisations in the manufacturing sector.

The announcement also appears to fly in the face of the Prime Minister’s pledge for a Lifetime Skills Guarantee which recognised the need for workers to refresh their skills constantly.

Funding for the Union Learning Funding (ULF) and unionlearn will cease in April, it has been revealed.

In a letter sent to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, seven CEO’s from employer-facing organisations say the move will weaken the workforce, damage businesses and worsen the economic crisis.

One of the signatories Ann Watson, CEO of engineering skills charity Enginuity, said: “The timing of this decision is bizarre in the extreme.

“These two vital skill operations are needed now more than ever, just as a tsunami of redundancies will crash across the country.

“The two initiatives would have played significant roles in supporting employees, the businesses they work for, and the UK economy.

“The Government needs to urgently rethink this decision.”

Many workplaces have been supported by the projects, including thousands threatened by redundancy.

An independent valuation by the Universities of Exeter and Leeds on the Union Learning Fund found that for every £1 invested produced a return £12.30 to the economy (£4.70 to the employer and £7.60 to the individual).

The letter states: “Speaking on behalf of the whole sector we would urge you to reconsider the decision to remove funding for ULF and unionlearn. In the manufacturing sector, this will lead to a reduction in support for workers and employers who are doing their utmost to upskill and retrain in these very challenging times.”

Other signatories to the letter are:

  • Stephen Phipson – CEO of Make UK,
  • Iain Wright CBE – CEO of the Food & Drink Federation,
  • Dr Laura Cohen MBE – CEO of the British Ceramic Federation,
  • Justine Fosh – CEO of Cogent Skills,
  • James Selka – CEO of The Manufacturing Technologies Association,
  • Dick Elsy CBE- CEO of the HVM Catapult.

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