Contacts, support and FAQs
Contacts for advice
Questions and enquiries regarding the Growth and Innovation Fund can be submitted to
We aim to respond to questions within three working days. It is important to note that in order for all applicants to have access to the same information responses will be shared publicly on this website. The identify of those asking questions will be anonymised.
This website will be updated regularly and applicants should ensure they have taken account of the latest information provided when preparing their applications.
Details of advice events
Advice clinics will take place on a number of occasions during the year and will provide applicants with the opportunity of a 15 minute 1-1 discussion with a GIF Investment Manager. The Investment Manager will be able to answer questions on the Fund’s objectives and scope, the application process and provide guidance on the criteria that will be used to assess applications.
Our next telephone advice clinics are scheduled to take place:
- 8 August 2012 : 1pm-4pm
- 9 August 2012 : 12.30-2pm
- 20 August 2012 : 2pm-4pm
- 21 August 2012 : 2pm-4pm
Due to the Olympics we are only able to offer telephone appointments during these times.
To register your interest in speaking to a GIF Investment Manager please send an email to: GIF.email@example.com.
Please state which of these dates you are available and, where possible, provide one or two sentences outlining your proposal. This will help us to identify the Investment Manager best placed to help you.
How will you ensure this money is well directed?
The GIF investment fund is not about ‘picking winners’ in the sense of pre-selecting some sectors to favour over others. Our objective of growing and rebalancing the economy means that many sectors of the economy will have an important role to play. We will look to support ideas brought forward by employers in different sectors, who will be facing different challenges and may have diverse ideas about what is needed to boost skills in their particular sector.
A Growth and Innovation Fund investment board, chaired by Charlie Mayfield, the Chair of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, will identify which proposals have the potential to make a real impact. Mr Mayfield and fellow Commissioners will have a crucial role on the GIF Board in ensuring a solid strategic approach to the needs of businesses.
What has happened to the £50m a year?
Of the £50m+ a year originally identified under the GIF banner in 2011-12, £20m was always identified as being for the leadership and management grant to SMEs, rather than for investment in projects. So there has been no reduction in the resources available to the GIF investment fund. After allowing for commitments to GIF round one projects, there is still £29m available in 2012-13 for new projects, with plans for comparable overall levels of investment over the remaining years of the Spending Review period.
How is £29m a year for new projects going to make any significant difference?
The GIF investment fund isn’t supposed to be about subsidising training on a wide scale for employers, as has been done in the past. It’s about making really effective use of some initial funding from Government, working with businesses, to give some impetus to changes in how skills are valued and developed in particular sectors. This is time-limited funding to get proposals which promote employer investment in skills up and running, not long-term public subsidy.
Why is funding not being given directly to individual employers, rather than intermediaries?
Through the GIF investment fund, we’re looking to make an impact on the growth prospects on a significant scale: across sector, for a whole sector, for a supply chain or a cluster of employers in a sector in a particular geographical area – rather than focussing at the level of individual companies. That’s why we’re looking for ideas that encapsulate the collective expression of what employers think will make a real difference to growth for them – by creating the conditions where employers as a whole will invest more effectively in skills. We’re setting the challenge for sector and employer bodies to work together in partnership to show real sector leadership – and to engage in the most effective way possible with all types of employers across their sectors.
Are there particular sectors you are focussing on?
GIF is not about picking winners in advance. Our objective of growing and rebalancing the economy means that many sectors of the economy will have an important role to play. We will look to support ideas brought forward by employers in different sectors, who will be facing different challenges and may have diverse ideas about what is needed to boost skills in their particular sector.
Can organisations submit multiple applications to the GIF investment fund?
GIF is now open for business all year round. Applicants are free to submit their applications to the Fund at any time. The GIF Board will meet regularly during the year to make its short listing and investment decisions. An organisation may submit one Outline Proposal and one Full application for consideration at any one time. In addition, an organisation may submit one further application where it is acting as the lead for a collaborative proposal.
Is there a minimum and/or maximum application value?
We would expect most successful proposals to be on a relatively large scale requiring annual investment from the Fund greater than £500,000 per annum over a period of approximately two years. In some circumstances, where the proposal addresses a particular niche area for instance, the annual investment may be lower and we will consider these proposals where the rationale for the lower investment and the impact is clear.
Are Group Training Associations eligible to apply?
Yes, they may apply as an employer organisation, provided that they meet the criteria in the eligibility checklist. But GTAs should note that they may not apply for funding to support activities as training providers, since we will not provide state aid to benefit one player in the market for training provision. GTAs may also wish to consider whether a collaborative application might provide a more compelling story around the scale and impact of a proposal.
What sort of projects can LEPs bring to GIF?
The defining characteristic is that applications have to propose some new collective arrangements to drive employer investment in future skills. GIF can help support the establishment of such arrangements, such as employer networks and professional standards frameworks. GIF is not about supporting employers’ costs of training. The projects approved in round one give a good range of examples of the types of proposal that may attract funding and you are encouraged to look at the summaries on the GIF website.
How can local enterprise partnerships add to what GIF can achieve?
We are keen to be able to support businesses as they get together in the ways that make sense for them as they address the particular skills challenges they face. This may well include a spatial as well as a sectoral dimension. Indeed, it can be within a particular geographical area that a sectoral skills issue really crystallises. The same may be true of cross-sectoral issues such as leadership and management and broad themes such as low carbon. Problems and solutions with a supply-chain focus may well have a geographical dimension. LEPs are business-led organisations with a key role in driving local growth and the local skills agenda and have a valuable perspective to offer to GIF.
Are LEPs too small-scale to generate the sorts of proposal GIF envisages?
The GIF aims to encourage skills solutions that will have significant scale and impact. The prospectus states that we would expect most successful proposals to be on a relatively large scale requiring annual investment from the Fund greater than £500,000 per annum over a period of approximately two years. But this does not rule out a role for LEPs as applicants in their own right. It may be the case that collaboration between several LEPs would make a more compelling case on impact than several separate applications. In some circumstances, where the proposal addresses a particular niche area for instance, the annual investment may be lower than the norm and we will consider these proposals where the rationale for the lower investment and the impact is clear.
What if a LEP does not have the resources to develop an application to GIF?
In this circumstance, we encourage LEPs to consider working collaboratively with another eligible organisation appropriate to the subject of what their employers’ issue is. This may be a National Skills Academy or Sector Skills Council, for example, or a particular trade body or employer organisation.
What support is there to help LEPs make applications?
Advice on making an Outline Proposal is available both through the GIF website and at advice clinics. Colleagues from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, the Skills Funding Agency and BIS will work to ensure that LEPs, as they are new to GIF, fully understand how to approach this fund. Enquiries should be made through the GIF website.
Once an application has been successful at the Outline Proposal stage, some GIF funding may support the working up of the full proposal. But the idea will need to be sufficiently well developed to meet the selection criteria at the Outline Proposal stage. GIF funding is not available to support working up a proposal from scratch.
Where a LEP is not itself a legal entity and its accountable body is a local authority, would the LEP be able to apply for GIF directly?
We are keen to encourage LEPs’ involvement in GIF. In considering the potential scale and impact of proposals, LEPs may choose to participate in collaborative applications, either with other sector or employer bodies, or as a group of LEPs, or combining both approaches. Also, some LEPs may wish to be involved in developing a proposal but may not have the capacity to do so alone. For successful collaborative applications, we would normally expect to be able to contract directly with a lead partner organisation. So if a LEP which was not a legal entity was part of an application with another eligible organisation which was a legal entity, we would normally expect to contract with the latter.
For an application from one or more LEPs where none is a legal entity, we will need to be satisfied with the underpinning accountability arrangements which would allow contracting and flow of funds via one constituent part of the partnership. This could be through a local authority, although it will not be the local authority itself which is making the application to GIF.
Freedom of Information and Data Protection
Please be aware that the GIF Board is a public body capable of receiving requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. If you mark any material you submit as part of your application as confidential or indicate that its disclosure would, or would be likely to be prejudicial to your or anyone else’s commercial interests then the Board will have regard to this when considering if any of the exemptions or exceptions apply were a request to be made the scope of which includes the information you have provided. However the Board cannot guarantee that such information would not fall to be disclosed.
Any personal data that is provided as part of your application will only be processed by the GIF Board (and its administrators) for the purpose of assessing your eligibility for the Fund. It will not be used for any other purpose without your permission, nor will it be shared with any third party.