More than 25 local employers learned about a new grant being offered to businesses taking on an Apprentice earlier this month at a Breakfast event hosted by Skillsbase.
The Business Breakfast, which took place at Leek’s Westwood Golf Club, saw employers from across Staffordshire and beyond, learn about the growing wave of interest in Apprenticeships following recent changes, whereby small-to-medium sized businesses can receive £1500* to help pay the wage of an Apprentice.
Leek College Sales & Marketing Manager Mara Hargreaves explained: “We have seen a huge increase in demand for Apprenticeships recently, and over the last three years our numbers have trebled. “We know that Apprentices can offer a great deal to businesses, and the new grant offers smaller employers a great opportunity in tough economic times.”
The event heard from two contrasting employers who have found that Apprentices make a valuable contribution both to day-to-day working and future growth prospects.
Chris Hargreaves, Study Coach in Leek College’s new student learning and support centre – The HUB, said: “Employing an Apprentice brings in young people who are willing to learn and come forward with fresh ideas.
“There are great benefits for both the employer and the Apprentice, and it’s important that young people are given the opportunity to get into work and ahead in a career when times are so tough.”
Jeremy Green, Managing Director of Leekbrook-based street furniture manufacturer Falco UK Ltd, told how his three Apprentices were making major achievements. The first had progressed to Level 3 of her studies, another is studying at degree level and the newest recruit, Mark Wain, has been promoted to Marketing Manager.
He said: “An Apprentice is an asset, not a drain on the company. They are cost effective and they are someone you can mould into the way you want to do things.”
Apprentice Mark explained that the scheme had given him the opportunity to develop a career and be paid at the same time, avoiding student debt and making real progress in a job.
Skillsbase has a team of 32 training specialists to help companies get the best out of their staff, including a complete service of Apprentice selection and support. They offer Apprenticeships in Engineering, IT, Accounting, Business & Administration, Children & Young People’s Workforce, Carpentry & Joinery, Hairdressing, Customer Service, Health & Social Care, Laboratory Technician, Process Manufacturing and Sales.
*subject to availability