The UK lags behind many countries with respect to training and skills
development, especially among smaller firms. Challenging conventional
wisdom, research at Durham University Business School (DUBS) helped to
shape a major new government policy designed to address this problem — the
£50m per year Growth & Innovation Fund (GIF) pilot. Introduced in
2011, this is a competitive funding mechanism to encourage firms,
especially small firms, to work together to facilitate skills development.
The initial impact is upon the form of GIF as a policy mechanism,
where firms are invited to bid collectively for matched funding to support
activities to deliver training to networks. The subsequent impact is that
of GIF in operation — where it has both reach in the substantial
number of UK businesses affected, and significance as a new approach to
solving a longstanding problem in skills deficiency among smaller firms.
More specifically, it shaped government policy, including the form of
delivery of training to the public and to businesses.