Banking on growth

A new £32 million venture will award grants to businesses in Merseyside, as well as helping 6,000 local people into work and creating as many as 4,000 apprenticeships.

A partnership between some of the City Region’s most prominent business leaders and politicians has successfully
negotiated the groundbreaking investment from Government to create the UK’s first Skills for Growth Bank for businesses.

This Skills for Growth Bank will give businesses full control to invest in the skills their workplaces need to grow. Over the coming months, businesses will be able to apply to the Bank for grant funding, which will be used alongside their own training budgets to help them recruit staff, train them and boost their productivity.

The funding announcement includes the largest award of Employer Ownership for Skills funding made by the Government. The initiative has been praised by business leaders and politicians, which will help business to grow and local people access employment.

Councillor Nick Small, Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Employment, Enterprise and Skills and member of the City Region Employment and Skills Board (pictured above with local apprentices)  said:  “The Bank will help businesses get the right skills they need to help their businesses grow.  There’s a mismatch at the moment between the skills people have and the skills the labour market needs.  This initiative will help bridge that gap.  It will give young people, people who are out of work and people in work who need to upskill the ability to acquire the skills they need.  Everyone can benefit from this.”

The bid was initiated by business leader Asif Hamid (The Contact Company) and the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Employment and Skills Board (Chaired by Jaguar Land Rover’s Richard Else). The idea of creating a business-led Skills Bank has generated interest from businesses of all sizes from across some of the region’s key growth industries.

Asif Hamid  explained the reason for creating The Bank.

“As Vice-Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership, I meet employers all the time who say that one of the big things holding back their growth potential is being able to get the right set of skills into their businesses. So we have created the Skills for Growth Bank so that they can take charge of public skills funding and ensure that young people leaving school, people looking for work and those already in their business can have world-class skills training that helps their business grow.”

Richard Else, Chair of the Employment and Skills Board and Operations Director for Jaguar Land Rover explained why this investment is so key to the city region.

“Last year we started work on a deal for jobs and skills with Government. The Skills for Growth Bank was our centrepiece and we have worked hard to convince Government that they should invest in this project. As a City Region we have for many years had something of a skills gap. This holds back business growth and contributes to high-levels of unemployment. Previous initiatives have focused on delivering qualifications in the hope of this contributing to jobs and growth. By getting our businesses to step up to the plate in this manner we are going much further and investing more directly in the skills we need to grow.”

Businesses as well as those wishing to supply training services through the Skills for Growth Bank can register their interest online at

Liverpool Waterfront