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Telford principal welcomes Chancellor’s ‘positive’ support for the economy

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Business | Published:

A Shropshire principal has welcomed the Government’s new multi-billion pound package of support for skills training to help lead the country out of recession.

Graham Guest

Graham Guest, principal and chief executive at Telford College, described Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcements as ‘a very positive move for the economy’.

“I think this is a great platform for us as a college to work with employers to lead the skills recovery,” he said.

“We are looking forward to supporting local businesses over the coming weeks and months, and collaborating with our key stakeholders to move everything forward.”

Mr Sunak outlined a £30 billion series of measures designed to help the UK recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

For the next six months employers will be paid £2,000 for every hired apprentice under 25 and a bonus of £1,500 for over-25s.

This is in addition to the £1,000 which is already available for taking on apprentices aged between 16 and 18.

The Government will also cover 100 per cent of the national minimum wage, for 25 hours a week, for employers who offer a work placement for 16 to 24-year-olds claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

Employers will be able to apply to join the scheme from next month, with the first ‘Kickstarters’ commencing employment from this autumn.

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There is also an extra £32 million for recruiting more careers advisers, and £17 million for sector-based work academies in England – an area where Telford College is already particularly active.

Mr Guest, who has been working closely with Telford Business Board and the local authority on the development of economic recovery support, said: “There is no doubt that these incentives are going to help to ease the way forward for businesses.

“We already have really good links with employers, and having spoken to them about this package of support, it’s clear that they welcome the proposals.

“Skills development is absolutely vital if we are to build our way out of this, and we are geared up to provide every possible support to companies.

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“We already have a wide variety of initiatives such as apprenticeships, and our sector-based academies which retrain people for employment, and provide a guaranteed job interview at the end of the process.”

He added: “This package of support for apprenticeships has been really well received. These incentives will help companies to ease their way forward.

“Long before the Covid-19 crisis, Telford College has been doing an awful lot of work with schools and parents to change the perception of apprenticeships, and that is now bearing fruit.

“We have some excellent businesses working with us, offering some great apprenticeship programmes and good career paths into higher level degrees and prospects to work not only locally, but nationally and sometimes internationally too.

“Speaking as a former apprentice myself, I can confidently say that apprenticeships are just as effective for long-term employment as academic programmes.”

For more information about apprenticeships, pre-employment courses, and other academic and vocational options, see www.telfordcollege.ac.uk

There is also a ‘virtual open event’ running, showcasing the campus facilities, the new curriculum, and offering the chance to ask questions.

Search for www.telfordcollege.ac.uk/virtual-open-event

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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