City Deal will create thousands of apprenticeships and boost skills in Sheffield

Excited: Deputy PM Nick Clegg.
Excited: Deputy PM Nick Clegg.
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FOUR thousand new apprenticeships are to be created and 2,000 workers given training to learn extra skills as part of Sheffield’s new City Deal being announced today.

Investment in creating new traineeships and boosting qualifications will take place over the next three years, paid for with £44.4m of local council and private sector investment, £23.8m of Government funding, and an additional £4m from the Government.

Meanwhile, at least £500 million of transport funding could be available over the next 10 years through the Sheffield Investment Fund.

The potential size of the fund means major projects such as large-scale new roads, rail schemes and tram extensions, which cost into the hundreds of millions, could be considered.

The City Deal also covers the rest of South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

John Mothersole, chief executive of Sheffield Council, said the announcement was a big boost for the city.

He said: “This is a groundbreaking deal for the Sheffield City Region which reflects our position as a lead partner of Government in delivering the jobs and growth that the UK needs.

“The proposals in our deal signal an unprecedented shift in control away from Whitehall and are a major step on the road to giving cities the tools they need to facilitate sustainable economic growth.”

Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore said: “Last year in Sheffield, there were seven engineering jobs for every one young person that trained for an engineering qualification – the current system doesn’t work.

“The City Deal will mean local people who best understand the needs of the local economy will decide how £23.8m of Government skills funding should be invested.

“The deal on transport is very similar. Currently we have to go cap-in-hand to Government and argue for investment in the major transport schemes we know will make the biggest difference to the region’s economy.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said: “I’m very excited about this announcement.

“The only way we are going to get out of these difficult times is by giving cities like Sheffield more freedom with extra powers, dedicated funding and an enhanced ability to borrow.”

He said current arrangements, where cities are forced to ‘depend on the say-so of bureaucrats in Whitehall’, are holding back development.

“Creating a fund for each city and allowing them to borrow against future income, to invest in infrastructure projects of their choosing, will provide a great opportunity,” Mr Clegg said.

£72 million for new apprenticeships and workplace training over the next three years.

WHAT DEAL WILL MEAN:

* 4,000 apprenticeships to be created.

* 2,000 employees to be trained in extra skills and qualifications.

* New Sheffield Investment Fund to provide as much as £500m in next decade for infrastructure projects which will be chosen locally - but exact amount not yet determined.

* Infrastructure improvements could be new roads, tram extensions and rail projects.

* Sheffield Council allowed to borrow against future taxation to provide additional funding for infrastructure.