Apprenticeship funding boost for Shropshire businesses

A £150,000 fund has been made available to support small to medium-sized businesses with apprenticeships.

Shropshire Council is offering SMEs and other, non-levy paying organisations in the county a chance to apply for free training through the scheme.

The transfer of Shropshire Council’s unspent apprenticeship funds allows it to help smaller enterprises by covering the cost of apprenticeship training, enabling them to take on and train new staff or boost the skills of existing staff.

The council has made £150,000 available to businesses that are not currently subject to the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, including SMEs; voluntary, community and social enterprises and voluntary aided and foundation schools.

The fund will cover the training costs of around 25 apprentices.

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for organisational transformation and digital infrastructure, said: “The vast majority of Shropshire’s businesses are SMEs, many of which will have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and possibly the floods that struck earlier in the year. The Apprenticeship Levy transfer scheme is one way we can support them – help them bounce back from lockdown through skills and the creation of new opportunities. I’d encourage any eligible business that would benefit from training new people or upskilling existing staff to seriously consider applying to this scheme.”

Sam Williams, Shropshire Council’s head of workforce and organisational development, said: “Apprenticeships have changed vastly over recent years. In addition to the more traditional courses, there is now a breadth of qualifications going up to degree level and covering a huge range of professions. There are more than 500 apprenticeship standards approved, with more being added all the time, so there is likely to be something on offer that would benefit most organisations.

“We have celebrated many successes since the launch of the apprenticeship levy within Shropshire Council; 47 members of staff have successfully completed training whilst 174 are currently in process of gaining a qualification. It’s fantastic that we can offer local non-levy paying employers the chance to reap the benefits of apprenticeship training through the transfer of levy funds.”

The scheme is open to applications until Monday, October 26.

For more information email apprenticeshiplevy@shropshire.gov.uk or telephone 01743258521.

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