The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority have helped support the creation of more than one new apprentice every working day since April 2016, new figures have revealed.
A total of 1,662 roles across 1,411 employers have been opened up after businesses took advantage of more than £3.7million worth of funding over the past five years, through a number of grant schemes.
Small and medium-sized companies from all different types of sectors have benefitted from the grants, from law firms and logistics operators to electricians, plumbers and telecoms firms.
Currently, businesses can take on apprentices through the Apprenticeship Support Grant. This enables small and medium-sized businesses to create opportunities in sectors facing high demand and growth with support of up to £3,000 per apprentice.
Across the region thousands of jobs are being created. The Teesside Freeport will create 18,000 good-quality skilled jobs over the next five years and put the region at the centre of the government’s plans for achieving net zero for the UK by 2050.
As the region spearheads the path to net zero, hundreds more apprenticeships will be created across a host of industries and sectors, ensuring local people have the skills needs to take advantage of the clean green jobs of the future.
The figures came as the first success of the Skills for Growth programme was also announced. Since its launch in February, the £3million project – a joint initiative with Teesside University International Business School and part-funded by the European Social Fund – has engaged with 120 businesses to help upskill 134 employees.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “These new figures show our strong track record in giving companies the vital helping hand needed to create apprentices today that will go on to become the skilled, in-demand workers of tomorrow.
“As we have seen time and again, the “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work for all young people, and apprenticeships are another brilliant way to make sure they can progress into well-paid, good-quality careers right here, and to help make them realise they can succeed without leaving for big cities.
“This has been even more important as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic, which has impacted both our businesses and our young people, and we’ve seen a fantastic take-up of the latest apprenticeship grant which helps to boost our priority sectors.
“I’ve made no secret that I want Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to be as synonymous for clean energy and net zero as Silicon Valley is for IT and social media, this means more jobs and more apprenticeships for local people so they can take full advantage of the jobs of the future we are creating across our region.”
Councillor Bob Cook, Tees Valley Combined Authority Cabinet Lead for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “I started out as an apprentice myself many years ago. It provided absolutely vital on-the-job experience and helped massively as I progressed through the world of work.
“There are so many doors that can be opened when you start an apprenticeship and it can be a great route into a range of industries. I’d certainly encourage anyone who’s interested in applying for an apprenticeship to do so.”
Warren Harrison, Dean of Teesside University International Business School, said: “We are delighted that the Skills for Growth scheme has made such an immediate impact. Working alongside partners to develop tailored interventions which deliver real change is key to Teesside University International Business School’s ethos. It is fantastic to see so many employees and businesses engaging with us on this project which is destined to make a real difference to the skill levels within the Tees Valley workforce.”
To find out how SMEs could benefit from the Apprentice Support Grant, visit www.teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/apprenticeships
For more on the Tees Valley Collaborative Skills Development Partnership (Skills for Growth) project, visit www.TeesValleyBusiness.com