Evaluation of the Employer Ownership of Skills


Research Team

Andy Dickerson
Steve McIntosh
Jennifer Roberts


In collaboration with CFE Research an independent not-for-profit company specialising in providing research and evaluation services across a broad field of education, employment and skills (cfe.org.uk), we have been commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to conduct an evaluation of Round 1 of the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilots (EOP). Skills are vital to our future and improving skills is essential to building sustainable growth and stronger communities. The UK faces a challenge of improving its lower level skills. It is ranked 19th of OECD countries in terms of individuals with at least a level 2 qualification. This is partly attributable to employer investment in skills, which although substantial, it is still below international competitors. Employer skills investment is also declining over time.

EOP offers employers direct access of up to £250m of government funding over 2 years to design and deliver their own training solutions. The Pilot encourages businesses to engage with innovative training solutions in order to reduce skills gaps and generate additional economic impact, such as improved business performance.

Through the EOP pilot employers were invited to develop proposals that raise skills, create jobs, and drive enterprise and economic growth. Government has invested in projects in which employers are also prepared to commit their own funds in order to make better use of combined resources.

The evaluation runs from 2012 to 2017 and will provide a full understanding of the impact of the innovative approaches that have been adopted in the pilots and assess whether they have led to increased or better quality training, or better outcomes for employers and individuals. It will also be an opportunity for employers and learners to provide feedback on their satisfaction with the pilots’ operation.

The ultimate purpose of the evaluation is to determine whether giving employers such direct access to public funding has increased or improved their investment in skills, or enabled them to demonstrate more effective ways of improving skills in the workforce than they could have achieved through use of mainstream funding models.

The evaluation findings will inform policy decisions and developments with regard to the future rollout of the Employer Ownership of Skills agenda. Contributing to the evaluation is therefore an excellent opportunity to influence future decisions about the expansion of employer ownership.