A LEP programme to help small and medium sized businesses to offer apprenticeships has supported 2,941 businesses, creating 2,367 new apprenticeships for 16 – 24 year olds.
The LEP’s apprenticeship programme began in January 2013 and the first phase of activity finished in March 2016. During this time the programme engaged with businesses who had not previously offered apprenticeships before or had not employed an apprentice in the last 12 months, encouraging them to recruit young talent into their company.
In addition to the number of young people and businesses supported, the long term economic value of the programme is estimated at £101.4 million, based on future earnings and productivity gains, around twenty times greater than the cost of the programme.
The first phase of the LEP’s apprenticeship programme was a £4.6m programme funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills via the Skills Funding Agency and was one of the first projects delivered by the LEP and its partner authorities. The programme included a central LEP team and eight local apprenticeship hubs in Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield, York and North Yorkshire (covering Craven, Harrogate and Selby). It also supported the operation of two Apprenticeship Training Agencies in Leeds and Bradford.
Following the success of this first phase, the programme has been extended until 30 October 2016.
Stephanie Burras, Chief Executive of the Ahead Partnership and Chair of the LEP’s Employment and Skills Panel, said:
“The LEP’s apprenticeship programme has achieved great success since it launched in 2013. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to support so many young people into apprenticeship roles, with the potential to support even more as we move into the second phase of the programme.”
“Creating more and better apprenticeships is a key element of our recently launched Skills Plan and I’m pleased that this programme has significantly contributed to this aim, bringing us much closer to our ambition of becoming a ‘NEET-free’ City Region (not in employment, education or training).”
Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said:
“I’m delighted that, through this programme, we’ve been able to support young people on the pathway to exciting career opportunities, whilst helping businesses to meet their needs for skilled staff.
“Alongside this programme, the devolution of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers to the Combined Authority and the LEP means that we now have a comprehensive package of support and funding to help businesses make the most of apprenticeships and grow the future talent that they need. I hope many more employers and young people take advantage of these opportunities as we move forward into the next phase.”
One business to access support through the LEP’s apprenticeship programme is Cutwel, a family business that specialises in supplying precision cutting tools and machine tool accessories to the engineering industry, based in Cleckheaton.
Paul Hawksworth, Managing Director at Cutwell, said:
“Apprenticeships are a great way to get young people into the workplace. They have 12 months to learn new skills and gain a qualification whilst helping businesses to develop. At the end of that period both the business and apprentice should know if they are suited to one another.”
Shauna Bonas completed a one-year apprenticeship with Cutwel in Telesales and now has permanent job at the company. Her job involves selling engineering cutting tools to customers all over the UK and Southern Ireland.
“I liked earning while I learnt. It was a real plus point that I was getting paid above the recommended apprenticeship wage. I did beauty therapy before and wanted to do something else that was fresh and new. My goal is to become a sales manager. It feels fantastic to have been appointed to a permanent job.”
If you would like support to recruit an apprentice, you can find out more by visiting www.the-lep.com/ApprenticeshipProgramme, or call our business growth team on 0113 3481818.