City Deal’ will deliver skills training to thousands

Published: 10th July 2012

Sheffield City Region has announced a deal with the Government to take responsibility for funding major schemes at a local level.

On Thursday 5th July, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited The Sheffield College to mark the launch of the deal, which will mean that Central Government will transfer money into a  £72m total investment fund in skills and will also put money into a  transport fund that could be worth £500m to the City Region.

The ‘City Deal’ means that more decisions on how money is spent on skills and transport in the Sheffield City Region will now be made by local businesses and partners who understand what is needed in the region.

A key element of the ‘City Deal’ scheme will be focused on job creation and skills, with 4,000 new apprenticeships created across the region and an additional 2,000 adults trained in new skills to help the local economy grow.

The Government is set to agree a three-year investment plan with the Sheffield City Region’s Skills and Employment Partnership.  This will enable a joint investment scheme with £44.4m of local public and private sector investment, £23.8m of Government funding and an additional £4m from Government.

The deal provides better certainty in transport funding for the City Region, allowing more flexibility in how the money is used, up front funding, and allowing longer term planning for the needs of the City Region.

The deal commits to a tram-train between Rotherham and Sheffield, and also to making Sheffield a prime mover for new funding arrangements with bus operators to improve services and bus punctuality and investment.

James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said: “This deal will further allow the LEP to drive forward real economic growth and create jobs for the Sheffield City Region.

“The skills deal gives businesses unprecedented control over the way in which our skills system works, so that we can make sure we have a highly skilled workforce which corresponds with the City Region’s business needs.

“Our transport deal will ensure that our workforce can travel faster, smarter and more efficiently. This deal is essential to achieving our growth potential and devolves the power to make transport decisions which focus on growing the City Region’s economy.”

“Our £700m shared investment programme creates the funding firepower for business leaders to influence local funding allocation decisions – so that future investments are prioritised on creating new growth opportunities.”

Nigel Brewster, LEP Board Member and Managing Director at Brewster McBride Recruitment Consultants, said, “This deal will see business leaders working closely with councils and education providers to ensure that we equip our workforce with the skills that Sheffield City Region businesses need for future growth and economic success.”

David Grey MBE, LEP Board Member and chief executive of Sheffield-based manufacturing group OSL Group Holdings Ltd, said, “As a local businessman, I welcome this announcement which has come after months of negotiation between the Local Enterprise Partnership and Government.

Businesses in the City Region need a highly skilled workforce, as we build a reputation as a global hub for modern manufacturing and technology. As our Enterprise Zone attracts new modern manufacturing and technology businesses, this deal will ensure that we have a workforce with the right skills to keep up with the growing demand.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “These groundbreaking deals signal a dramatic power shift, freeing cities from Whitehall control. Everyone in these eight core cities will feel the benefits – from young people looking for jobs, to businesses looking to expand.

“Over the coming months, we are transferring more and more power from Whitehall to these cities.

“They are the economic powerhouses of England – so it makes sense that the cities decide for themselves how to boost their local economies.”

John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council added: “This is a groundbreaking deal for Sheffield City Region signalling an unprecedented shift in control away from Whitehall.”