An extra £90m is to be provided to the Employer Ownership Pilot, as Local Enterprise Partnerships are to be given a new strategic role in skills policy.
LEPs are to be given a role setting skills strategies consistent with national objectives, with chartered status for colleges to be linked to how far these skills are taken into account.
LEPs will also be encouraged to hold a seat on colleges’ governing bodies.
Some welcomed the move, which will see LEP budgets increased from £250m to £340m.
CITB-ConstructionSkills chief executive Mark Farrar welcomed the investment in infrastructure, adding that the LEP funding would “enable them to better identify and respond to local skills needs”.
“[The move] demonstrates [government’s] commitment to broadening the training and skills landscape in line with the needs of the industry. It is through these targeted support measures that we will be able to ensure ours is a world-class sector.”
However, the lack of specific measures to enhance training and apprenticeship provision in construction frustrated some industry figures.
Ainscough Crane Hire commercial director Gareth Jones said that although spending commitments, corporation tax cuts and scrapped rises in fuel duty were good news for his business, it was “disappointing” that apprenticeships weren’t mentioned.
“There is a shortage of skilled workers coming into construction, and support from the Government to provide training and apprenticeships would help bolster the industry and secure its future.”
And Baris Group managing director Terry Damms said the lack of extra funds for apprentices was “disappointing”.
“Training a person to a competent skill level is a real investment for businesses in terms of time, money and resources.
“More support in this area would allow us to take on more young people, cutting the number of NEETS (those not in education, employment or training) and paying a wage to the next generation.”