£400,000 Skills Boost

September 23, 2013

The Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) has secured a £400,000 funding package from the Government through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP). http://www.ukces.org.uk/ourwork/investment/employer-ownership Set up in 2011, the EOP is a competitive fund open to employers, to invest in their current and future workforce in England. Its aim is to raise skills, create jobs, and drive enterprise and economic growth. Interest in this second round of the scheme was high with bids over six times the £240m available.

The funding will enable new approaches to growth for England’s forestry sector and support business-led groups to deliver training and development in an innovative manner that employers may not otherwise be able to access or afford. The project will be open to all in the sector, not just ICF members. The project initially arose out of research carried out for an innovative Knowledge Transfer Partnership run by the ICF on professional development.

Employers from across the sector voiced concerns about their ability to access business skills for employees, and to capture new and emerging opportunities. Discussions with employers and a survey of managers representing 25% of the sector showed widespread demand for the activities proposed and a willingness to support the project. The project will be delivered by Rural Development Initiatives Ltd on behalf of a Steering Group of employers and contributing organisations, chaired by the lead employer UPM Tilhill.

The full press release is available at :

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