Norfolk apprenticeships £2m funding boost


Published:
10:16 AM January 24, 2022



Almost £2m is available to encourage Norfolk businesses to take on more apprentices – amid concerns over a sharp drop in the number of such jobs.

Bosses at Norfolk County Council said coronavirus had contributed to the drop in apprenticeship starts in recent years – falling to 4,890 in 2019/20 from the 7,670 in 2016/17.

County Hall chiefs have secured more than £1.9m in external funding to help businesses get back on track with apprenticeship schemes.

They say, as more Covid-19 restrictions are eased, now is a good time to apply for financial and business support to develop the workforce through apprenticeship schemes.

Graham Plant, Councillor, at the grand reopening of the Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake, Great Y

Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for growing the economy.
– Credit: Archant

Graham Plant, council cabinet member for growing the economy, said: “Quite often businesses, especially small to medium enterprises, are so busy with their day-to-day operations, they simply don’t have the time and resource to discover what is available to help improve their line of business.

“We want to reassure employers that our experts can help guide people through the process of recruiting apprentices.

“Form filling, terms and conditions, these can all feel overwhelming. With free, impartial advice, the dedicated apprenticeship team can take you to the ‘right door’ for your needs.”

Money from a European Development Fund – which was allocated before Brexit – means Access to Apprenticeship grants, of up to £500 for 16 to 24-year-olds, are available to go towards the cost of young people’s travel or to buy the equipment they need to start in a specific trade.

Progression to Apprenticeships is a pilot project running until June 2022.

Part-funded by the UK government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, it aims to increase the number of young people aged 16-24 moving into apprenticeships.

It will cut the financial burden for employers in the first 26 weeks of an apprenticeship.

Ashley Camies, head of recruitment support at Perfect Placement Automotive Recruitment, based at St Andrews Business Park in Norwich, said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to build a strong team – you have the ability to mould these young people into the workers you need them to be, whilst also ensuring you are boosting their skills to assist them with future employment prospects.

“We have seen great success from our past and present apprentices and look forward to employing more as the years progress.”

Details of grants and incentives are at www.apprenticeshipsnorfolk.org/grants



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