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Enterprise giants join forces to bid for £340m government skills fund

BT, Capgemini, John Lewis, UBS, the Met Police and Microsoft form partnership

The UK's skills council for business and information and technology, e-skills, has successfully coordinated a new partnership of big business names to bid for £340 million of government funds in an attempt to create jobs, raise skills and drive economic growth.

The newly formed Tech Skills Partnership includes the likes of Accenture, BT, Capgemini, Csico, Direct Line, HP, John Lewis, the Metropolitan Police, Microsoft, Morrisons, O2, Royal Mail and UBS.

e-Skills is responding to the government's Industrial Strategy, which was launched towards the end of last year and highlighted the 'information economy' as a priority sector for the UK.

The partnership plans to bid into the government's Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot, which is a £340 million fund that will see the government co-invest in proposals from employers who are willing to work together and commit their own resources, to develop solutions aligned to the industrial industry.

"Technology isn't just a major sector in its own right - it's key to all areas of the economy - and becoming increasingly so," said Olly Benzecry, managing director at Accenture, UK & Ireland.

"By getting together as an industrial partnership and strongly influencing the technology skills agenda, we will develop the sustainable technology talent the economy needs. This will positively impact both growth and employment in the UK."

e-skills is also calling for feedback from other employers, particularly smaller ones, on its plans to bid for the funding.

"Our proposals are likely to focus on strengthening the pipeline of talent into technology; setting new standards for apprenticeships; enabling employers to define the courses and training they value; and establishing greater collaboration between industry, education and training providers, as well as global, national and local employers," said Phil Smith, VP and chief executive of Cisco, UK & Ireland.

"We're inviting other employers to get involved and welcome all feedback on these plans."

In other skills news, it was revealed yesterday that computer science will now sit alongside traditional science subjects and be added to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

The move comes short on the heels of Gove's decision to scrap the previous 'harmful' ICT curriculum, which was removed last year and will be replaced by a new programme of study focused on computer science.


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