Date: 
01/03/2013

Torbay Mayor backs apprentice push

 

With National Apprenticeship Week (11-15 March 2013) just around the corner, Torbay Mayor, Gordon Oliver is calling on local businesses and young people to take a fresh look at the benefits of apprenticeships in the Bay.

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) offers grants of £1500 to small and medium sized businesses (250 employees or less), that recruit their first apprentice aged between 16 and 24.

The £1,500 grant is in addition to the training costs of the chosen apprenticeship, and are met in full for 16-18 year olds and 50% for those aged 19-24. Employers are required to commit to employing an apprentice for a minimum of 12 months, or the time it takes for the apprentice to complete their programme.

Future employers are supported entirely through the whole process, including placing their vacancy on the official free online recruitment service for Apprenticeships. This includes checks on the employers’ eligibility, devise the right training plan for the business and claim the grant on behalf of the employer.

Jobcentre Plus can also support future employers with 2-8 week work experience placements which can be converted into apprenticeships assuming there is a vacancy within the organisation.

The key benefits to work experience placements are that an unemployed young person with no previous experience can be given the opportunity to undertake some real life work experience enhancing their skills and providing invaluable experience for their CV’s. It provides both the individual and the business with an opportunity to assess how well matched they are to each other prior to making a job offer, which could potentially save the business money in the long run should a vacancy be inappropriately filled.

Work experience is up to 30 hours per week for a minimum 2 to a maximum of 8 weeks. If a candidate is successful in securing employment the work experience can be extended by up to another 4 weeks whist the placement is converted into an apprenticeship.

There are now also more apprentice opportunities in the Bay with Torbay Council’s economic development arm, the Torbay Development Agency leading the recent £1.385m successful bid to the Coastal Communities fund. This bid included new funding support for apprenticeships in certain sectors to pay for pre apprenticeship training and work experience.

Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver said “Apprenticeships are good for business in the Bay - they provide real, measurable benefits for local employers. They bring productive, enthusiastic and loyal people and demonstrate commitment to investing in staff to customers and suppliers.

“For young people apprenticeships are a great way to begin a career. With the opportunity to ‘earn and learn’ on the job and at the same time and gain nationally recognised qualifications .I really would encourage both employers and young people to take a fresh look at the benefits apprenticeships can bring.”

Debbie Passmore, Partnership Executive for the TDA went on to say:
“Apprenticeships offer businesses an effective strategy to recruit young talent that can learn and grow with the business and add significant value with new ideas, natural enthusiasm and a determination to forge a career.
“There are more than 200 different types of apprenticeships available offering over 1,200 job roles, in a range of industry sectors, from engineering to boat building, veterinary nursing to accountancy. Research has shown apprentices enjoy marked salary increases when they complete their apprenticeship training.”

Small or medium sized businesses interested in employing their first apprentice can call 08000 150 600 to speak to an advisor, or visit the Apprenticeships website for more information: www.apprenticeships.org.uk/Employers

Support from Jobcentre Plus on work experience placements can be accessed by contacting Lee Tozer, Business Development Manager at Torquay Jobcentre Plus 01803 356143.

South Devon College is also heavily supporting National Apprenticeship Week and information and advice for both young people and employers is available on their website www.southdevon.ac.uk