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Solent Employer Ownership of Skills Programme - CURRENTLY CLOSED

The Employer Ownership of Skills Fund is a £1.5m fund to help marine and maritime, advanced manufacturing, defence and other key employers plug skills gaps and grow their businesses.

The fund operated between September 2014 and February 2016. All funding has now been allocated and the programme is now closed to new applications. 

The fund has been invested across 5 projects which, collectively, have the potential to create more than:

  • 70 new jobs
  • 400 safeguarded jobs
  • 300 apprenticeship at level 3 and above
  • 1,100 other qualifications at level 3 and above
  • £18.4m additional private sector investment in skills

Employer Ownership of Skills Programme Projects

British Marine 

£51,200 will be invested to support the implementation of a new boat building trailblazer initiative in the Solent. Through work with British Marine, the investment will support smaller employers through the process of recruiting and mentoring apprentices and the implementation of the new Trailblazer Apprenticeship standard. 


The Solent LEP are providing £163,638 of funding to support the development of a four year apprenticeship scheme in toolmaking at the company, helping to secure the future of manufacturing at the Company and in the Solent.

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind 

£268,816 of Employer Ownership of Skills Funding will be used as part of a c£1m MHI Vestas Offshore Wind skills investment to develop a comprehensive program of training on the Isle of Wight where the company serially manufactures the largest (offshore) wind turbine blades in the world for the record breaking V164-8.0MW turbine. This skills program will enhance MHI Vestas Offshore Wind’s employee’s advanced engineering composite knowledge across all production areas and develop a balanced and framework based approach to delivering the highest technical and training quality assurance standards, as well as contributing to an upskilling of the Isle of Wight and wider Solent area world class composites cluster. 

Solent Leadership Academy

The Solent LEP has invested £320,800 into the creation of an employer and training organisation leadership and management consortium; led by Fareham College and Fareport Training Organisation. The Solent Leadership Academy will undertake the design and delivery of a new, cross-sector, leadership and management programme - an area identified in the Solent Skills Strategy as critical to enabling productivity growth.

Summaries of further projects funded through the Employer Ownership of Skills Programme will be published here shortly.

BAE Systems

A contract with BAE Systems has been agreed for £621,000 EOP funding alongside a further £1.179m Local Growth Deal contribution, (local contribution totalling £1.8m). The combined Skills Development Centre & BAE Systems Marine Engineering Centre project is a £9,700,000 transformational programme to deliver new and upgraded workshop facilities from the redevelopment of existing facilities at Portsmouth Naval Base. The scheme supports the Skills Development Centre (SDC), which was refurbished in 2016 and within which Level 1 and 2 apprentices are trained for both Naval Base and local SME requirements. The Marine Engineering Centre will deliver enhanced training facilities for Level 3 and 4 apprentices and enable up-skilling and re-training at level 3 of the existing workforce, to improve operational efficiency and capability in response to heightened demand for services to support the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers.

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