Ministers have unveiled a £60 million fund to boost business skills and growth.

The second phase of the Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF) will be launched by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Minister for Skills John Hayes today.

They say it “will support businesses to develop their skills solutions tailored to their own needs, transforming growth in their sector, region or supply chain.”

BIS will be providing £34 million for 2012-13 and there is still £29 million available to bid for.  With matched funding from businesses there will be around £60 million available under GIF this year.

Comparable levels of investment are planned for the following two years.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The Government understands we need to tackle the skills shortages that are holding companies back.

“Through this fund, we will support employers that take collective action to overcome these barriers, helping to rebalance and grow our economy.

“By putting the employer’s voice at the heart of the process, we will reward inventive approaches to training that deliver real help to get business moving.”

Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes said: “I know times are tough for many businesses, but I am determined to do all I can to build a skills system that creates opportunity for young people, and puts firms on course for growth.

“Government investment in skills works best for individuals and communities when it responds directly to employers’ needs.

“Offering a more continuous process will ensure that public money will be able to fund more projects throughout the year, giving business the power to shape training and directly support jobs and growth.”

The funding is already supporting 15 projects across the country deliver new training to boost innovation and productivity, enable industries to set new professional standards, or support new or extended National Skills Academies.

For more on this story, see next week’s FE Week.

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