This is what happened to £10m of unspent training cash in Sheffield City Region

The fate of more than £10m left unspent after a Sheffield City Region training scheme can be revealed.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 1:15 pm

Some £10.6m left untouched when the Skills Bank ended was put into a pot worth a total of £23m, the Government has stated.

It paid for two skills support contracts won by Manchester-based The Growth Company.

The announcement, by the Department for Education, clears up what happened to the money.

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Manchester-based The Growth Company won skills support contracts in Sheffield City Region worth £23m.
Manchester-based The Growth Company won skills support contracts in Sheffield City Region worth £23m.

The Skills Bank received £17m of taxpayers’ cash to help businesses in Sheffield City Region train staff. It was run by accountants PwC for two years until March 2018.

But only £6.4m was spent leaving £10.6m which was recycled into a new £23m pot that funded two projects: Skills Support for the Unemployed and Skills Support for the Workforce, which both started in April last year and are due to run until July 2021.

Both projects are being run by The Growth Company. All the money is from the European Social Fund.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The Skills Support for the Unemployed project is designed to support people in developing and building the skills they need to return to employment.

“The second project, Skills Support for the Workforce, aims to provide individuals with the opportunity to develop the skills that will enable them to progress in their employment.”

The two Sheffield contracts were part of a £56.5m package won by the Growth Company and also covered Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

All the cash was from the ESF and channelled by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The Growth Company states it is an independent not-for-profit set up to boost economic and personal development in communities by boosting employment, skills, investment and enterprise.

It is in the same office on Great Bridgewater Street as the CA, the LEP and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham. Several Manchester councillors sit on the board.

The set-up has led to accusations of a conflict of interest when the Manchester CA puts out tenders for contracts, which are strenuously denied.

No-one from The Growth Company was available for comment.