Industrialist, Sanjeev Gupta, whose family’s worldwide business interests include, metals, engineering and energy, today (7th February) announced the creation of a multi-million pound family foundation to help nurture a new generation of skilled workers in Britain’s industrial communities.
The GFG Foundation is being created to mark the 25th anniversary of industrials and metals group, Liberty House, which, along with its sister energy company SIMEC, has invested more than £500m in the past year to acquire and revitalise steel, engineering and power assets across the UK.
The new body, which will support both local and national initiatives, aims to help equip young people in Britain’s manufacturing heartlands with new skills and contribute to the regeneration of their communities.
It will initiate new projects or support existing schemes that boost the employment prospects of young people, particularly those at risk of being ‘left behind.’
Support will include bursaries for talented youngsters to undertake high-level technical courses, grants to enhance existing local or regional skill-building projects and funding for intensive industry-related work experience or mentoring.
The foundation comes against the backdrop of the Government’s Industrial Strategy proposals which stress the need to upskill the young.
One of the foundation’s first projects will be to sponsor awards for Industrial Cadets, an acclaimed nationwide scheme, championed by HRH, The Prince of Wales, which provides high-quality accredited work experience to help 11-19 year olds prepare for careers in industry.
The new body’s support for skill building across industrial communities will be additional to extensive investment by Gupta family businesses (GFG Alliance) in training for its own fast-growing enterprises.
GFG Alliance executive chairman, Sanjeev Gupta said: “The foundation is logical extension of our strategy to revive key industries in the UK, reflecting our core values which are to add value to the communities where we operate. I can’t think of a better way to start Liberty’s 25th anniversary year.”
The Gupta family will provide £1m seed finance for the foundation and then build a multi-million pound fund through further contributions from GFG businesses and match-funded support from stakeholders, the corporate world and potentially the public sector.
The new body will be chaired by Mr Gupta’s wife, Nicola, who said: “Our primary focus will be education and employment, addressing gaps in current social support and targeting those at risk of being left behind in the economically-pressurised communities of Wales, the Midlands, the North and Scotland where our business operates.” The new Foundation will also support primary education overseas.
A ceremony held at the Gupta family’s Newport South Wales site to announce the foundation was attended by members of the Welsh Affairs Parliamentary Select Committee whose chairman David Davies MP said: “On behalf of the committee I would like to thank the Gupta family for this valuable contribution, particularly at a time when we are trying to get more young people into apprenticeships.”
The first chief operating officer of the GFG Foundation will be Tim Smith, currently head of global operations for Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award which he joined in 2009 after 20 years as an army officer, serving worldwide.
He said: “Both in the army and the DofE I have been helping young people to achieve their potential so I’m looking forward to doing the same with the GFG Foundation. I’m particularly attracted by the GFG Alliance’s commitment to sustainability. Nurturing skills and confidence in young people is all about sustainability and building for the future.”
For further information please visit www.gfgfoundation.com.
Further information from Eoghan Mortell 07977 555116 or
Jessica Beeken/Anthea Crowe 029 2045 5182