London: A new pilot programme led by PwC and announced by the UK Government yesterday should make it easier for businesses to access training funds, supporting new jobs and growth through professional services skills.
The pilot Employer Ownership of Skills programme for professional services will be run by PwC, as part of a government funded £60m industrial strategy initiative designed to change the way the Government and employers invest in the skills of the UK workforce.
The radical new approach will mean employers of all sizes who want to invest in professional services-related apprenticeships and critical business skills, can take advantage of a one stop shop with PwC supporting companies in identifying, sourcing and delivering training, and accessing government funds for their programmes.
The programme will streamline the training funding and procurement process by reducing the complexity and bureaucracy employers have struggled with in the past, making engaging with Government support for training a feasible option for organisations of all sizes. It will open up opportunities for businesses to create new jobs and develop talent through training.
The programme will reduce the administrative burden for companies, and focus on the delivery of training specifically needed by the sector, supporting new apprenticeships and vital business skills development.
Sara Caplan, partner, PwC said, "The changes put employers of anyone with professional services skills such as accounting, consulting, tax and HR in the driving seat on training. It gives businesses real choice about how to put Government investment in training to the best use in their business.
"It can take the lottery out of identifying and administrating the right training, sourcing funding and providers, and levels the playing field for SMEs and large firms to develop and deliver a wide range of business skills. Employers will decide how to spend funding, what to spend it on and what format they want training in.
"This is a real opportunity for employers to step up and take more control of developing skills for productivity and growth in their businesses."
PwC will manage the professional services fund on behalf of the government, help employers look at what training they need, and what training providers could provide it. In the case of smaller companies, PwC can manage the entire training provision process end to end, giving employers of different sizes the flexibility to choose the level of support they need.
The fund covers access to a range of business skills training and Apprenticeship programmes.
- For business skills training, the topics covered include communications, personal management, IT skills, project management, commercial awareness and technical consulting tools and methodologies.
- For Apprenticeships, these can include (but are not limited to) programmes at a variety of levels in project management, financial services, accounting, bookkeeping, management, business administration, audit, tax and consultancy, HR and payroll.
One of the Apprenticeships available through the initiative will be the new Higher Apprenticeship in Professional Services, with pathways into audit, tax and consultancy, which was developed by PwC in collaboration with over 30 other employers.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said, "By offering dynamic businesses using professional services skills the chance to shape and set their own training agenda through the PwC programme, we're giving them the power to enrich their workforce with the skills they need for their future success.
"This scheme recognises that it is employers, big or small, who are best placed to determine their own training needs."