ETIP training incentive scheme boosts skills funding for East Anglia’s SMEs

Mike Biegel speaking at a Suffolk Chamber of Commerce event.

Mike Biegel speaking at a Suffolk Chamber of Commerce event.

Businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk have now committed more than £500,000 towards additional training for their employees as part of a new skills initiative.

In return, the firms are to receive £130,000 in grants from the Employer Training Incentive Pilot (ETIP) towards the cost of training,

ETIP offers up to 25% “money back” on the cost of training designed to enhance productivity, efficiency or vocational effectiveness, rising to 30% on Level 3 and 4 apprenticeships.

It is targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), defined as companies with no more than 250 employees. Learners must be aged at least 19 and the training they undertake must be non-mandatory.

The pilot is being delivered through a partnership including the Suffolk and Norfolk chambers of commerce, and grants have now been approved in relation to nearly 1,000 employees across the two counties.

The project, which is being part-funded by the Government as an incentive for employers to take ownership of skills funding, runs until March 31, 2017, but employers are being urged not to delay in taking advantage of the opportunity.

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, said: “Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to see local SME businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk engaging with this pilot, which helps upskill our staff and provides money back to businesses.

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“As one of only two areas in the UK that have been identified by central government to trial this method, Norfolk and Suffolk chambers of commerce have been working with partners to provide vital support towards the costs of training the staff of SMEs.”

Mick Biegel, ETIP manager, added: “By giving businesses control over their choice of training and training provider, we are helping to ensure that SMEs in Norfolk and Suffolk can choose the training that is right for their business, and helps them save money in the process.

“The team aims to make the pilot as quick and easy to use as possible, and so applications are dealt with efficiently and with speed, something which has struck a real chord with those participating.”

Paul Winter, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society and chairman of the Greater Ipswich City Deal Board, said: “It is great to see that the funding secured for the local area through the Greater Ipswich City Deal is continuing to have such a positive impact on both local businesses and their employees through the Employer Training Incentive Pilot.

“It is another example, following the establishment of the MyGo Youth Employment Centre and the success of many other City Deal projects, of the ways in which the City Deal is responding to the skills needs of individuals and our local economy.”