UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: £4.5m for more training in the Engineering Construction Sector

Press Release   •   Dec 02, 2009 11:25 GMT

A £4.5 million increase in Government funding for apprenticeships and trainees in the engineering construction sector will mean that opportunities for young people to train for skilled jobs could double to 1,200 by 2011, Secretary of State for Business, Lord Mandelson said today.

Making its initial response to the Gibson Review of Engineering Construction, a study of productivity and skills in the sector, the Government has committed to:

·               Earmarking £4.5 million of funding for more trainees and apprenticeships in the sector.

·               Working with the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board to ensure that the industry’s training levy is fairly applied to all firms working in the industry, including non UK firms.

Lord Mandelson also welcomed the creation of a new cross-industry body set up to promote change in the sector to be chaired by Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish & Southern Energy.

Lord Mandelson said:

“The engineering construction sector employs up to sixty thousand people in the UK. This new investment means that more home grown workers will be provided with the skills and experience needed for them to take the work opportunities that designing, building and maintaining the wave of new investment the country needs in power stations and energy infrastructure.

“I am delighted that someone of the calibre of Ian Marchant has agreed to take on this important role. His experience is highly relevant, and he is extremely well placed to take the work of the Forum forward.”

New chair of the forum Ian Marchant said:

"The UK's engineering construction industry needs more people with more skills and better productivity if it is to play a full part in the transformation of the UK's power stations, oil refineries and chemical plant that we will see over the next two decades.  One of the key risks to the overhaul of the country's asset base is that it lacks the engineers to do the work.  Over the next 18 months, I expect the new Forum to set out a practical and comprehensive plan to turn this risk into an opportunity for the UK to improve skills, create jobs and provide work for a growing number of successful engineering construction companies."

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband said:

“There’s a big challenge ahead to build the energy infrastructure we need for the long term, in particular the massive expansion of low carbon sources needed to play our full part in the global fight against climate change.  A deal in Copenhagen will be vital in sending a strong signal, but it’s down to Government, industry and employees to work together to nurture the high tech skills needed to make it a reality”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is to publish its 2050 Vision document in spring 2010, an important guide for the energy sector in the move to the low carbon future. This will respond to the report’s recommendation that the government should provide further information and signals to the energy sector to help companies produce long term investment strategies. Government will also continue to work to ensure that the right conditions are present to allow industry to take investment decisions to deliver a low carbon, secure energy supply.

Mark Gibson, a former Director General at the Department for Business, was tasked in February this year by Lord Mandelson to review productivity and skills within the construction engineering sector. The results of his report were presented to Ministers today.

Notes to editors

1.              The full Gibson Review will be available on the BIS website from Monday 30th November, please visit:

2.              The £4.5 million pledged for training and apprenticeships in the sector will be coming from the funding announced as part of the Skills Strategy earlier this month. It is made up of:

·        £1.5 million from the new Joint Investment Scheme pilot announced in the recent national skills strategy, to be matched by industry funding

·        £3 million of the Government’s increased investment to support advanced, Level 3 apprenticeships - provided that the industry makes the apprenticeship places available

3.              At the beginning of 2009 Mark Gibson, an ex-Director General of BERR, was tasked by Lord Mandelson to investigate skills and productivity in construction engineering.

4.             Ian Marchant is Chief Executive of Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), the UK-listed energy company involved in the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity and the storage, distribution and supply of gas.  He is also a non-Executive Director of John Wood Group, the UK-listed energy services company which provides engineering, production support, maintenance management and industrial gas turbine services to the oil and gas and power generation industries.

5.             Ian Marchant is expected to announce further details on the Forum in due course.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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