The Joint Industry Board (JIB) is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its Skills Development Fund (SDF) by urging members to take advantage of the many opportunities to raise their skill levels and enter new and emerging markets. With the move towards net zero and need for low carbon technologies within the built environment, the JIB Skills Development Fund is providing a much-needed boost for skills and training by providing up to 75% of the costs of relevant upskilling qualifications.
Originally established as the Further Education Fund, it was rebranded in 2015 as the Skills Development Fund and over the years the JIB has been working to raise the level of awareness of the Fund with the aim of promoting a higher standard of technical knowledge and craftsmanship across the electrotechnical industry.
The SDF helps people improve their skill set in a number of ways, such as providing grants to JIB member companies to train their workforce and become more competitive in an ever-evolving marketplace. The Fund is also open to those who have been made redundant and may be able to provide grants to help increase the skills of those unemployed to re-enter the workforce. Just in the last five years, record levels of applications and support have seen 150 people provided with over £100,000 in grant funding to progress their education and careers in the electrotechnical industry.
Another benefit for industry provided by the SDF is the JIB Apprentice Exchange Programme. The JIB arranges exchanges between the New York JIB, USA, and Electrogroup Training, Brisbane, Australia, with apprentices travelling between the countries to report back on what work is like for an electrician. These exchanges have been very successful since their inception, with the SDF covering the cost of flights, accommodation, wages and associated costs. The latest winner, Matthew Pickering, of NG Bailey, will spend six weeks living and working as an electrician in Brisbane, Australia, later this year.
Jay Parmar, CEO of the JIB, explains, “It’s imperative for JIB member companies that they remain competitive in a rapidly changing sector and the Skills Development Fund is committed to continuing its support for upskilling the workforce and career progression. JIB members have in previous years reported back to us a wish to see more support for training and upskilling and I am therefore pleased to see the charity providing financial support across a wide range of technologies and skills that will allow JIB member companies and their employees to continue to thrive in the future.”