Mayor Ben Houchen has urged the region’s businesses to apply for funding to help them employ and retain more apprentices across Tees Valley.
A significant amount of funding is still available to local companies to apply for grants, following the Mayor and Combined Authority’s original £3.8million commitment to creating apprenticeships.
Now the Mayor has invited employers to take advantage of the Apprenticeship Support for Employers scheme after its scope was broadened to include more fast-growing industries.
As well as key sectors such as advanced manufacturing, logistics and process, chemicals and energy, a sliding scale of support for apprentices is now available for priority sectors including construction and care for the elderly.
The call comes after the Combined Authority awarded permanent contracts to two of its apprentices, Niamh Cooney, 18, and Ameer Khan, 21. The Authority is also set to take on nine more interns, giving them rewarding paid work experience during the summer holidays.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic alternative and can open doors to high-quality rewarding careers.
“The idea you can only get on in life by going to university is nonsense. I’m a massive believer in vocational education, and that’s why I’ve made supporting proper apprenticeships a key part of my plan to drive growth in the region.
“Now more than ever we need more of the skills that local businesses are crying out for. This scheme will address this shortage by specifically targeting the sectors of our economy which have the highest growth potential.
“We recognise the hard work and the value apprentices add to what we do and want others to benefit. As part of our £55million investment into employment and skills, our apprenticeship scheme gives businesses financial support in creating and continuing apprenticeships so I’d ask any company across our key sectors to take a look and get in touch.”
Cllr Bob Cook, Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Lead on Education, Employment and Skills said: “This fund is a win-win for our businesses and residents. It helps create and sustain roles to get our young people into meaningful employment, and will allow our companies to shape the workforce, giving them the skills and manpower they need.
“This apprenticeship support is another strand of our education, employment and skills offer, which includes a host of programmes and initiatives. These range from giving our students meaningful engagement with employers to helping long-term unemployed back to work, allowing us to address job creation at every level.”
Grant A is offered on a sliding scale and is related to the level of the apprenticeship:
Levels 2 & 3 – £2,000
Levels 4 & 5 – £3,000
Levels 6 & 7 – £4,000
An additional grant of £2,000 would be offered for each progression should an apprentice move between levels three to seven This grant is available for small to medium businesses (249 or fewer employees) from the Combined Authority’s identified priority sectors who employ an apprentice aged 19+, working towards a recognised Apprenticeship Standards or Frameworks (up to a maximum of three apprentices per year).
Grant B is available for employers from any sector and offers a sliding scale relating to the apprenticeship level, with Levels 2 & 3 awarded £500 and Levels 4 to 7 granted £1,000. If the apprentice is progressing between levels 3 to 7 an additional grant of £1,000 would be offered for each progression. This grant is available for small businesses (49 or fewer employees) who employ an apprentice aged 19+, (up to a maximum of three apprentices per year).
To find out more and to apply, employers should visit www.teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/apprenticeship-support