In-Comm to create 200 apprenticeships with Equip the Recovery campaign

One of the UK’s leading training providers is throwing its weight behind the UK’s economic bounce back by announcing a new apprenticeship campaign designed to give firms the talent they need to grow.

Gareth Jones of In-Comm
Gareth Jones of In-Comm

Walsall-based In-Comm Training, which already supports more than 750 apprentices across three technical academies in the Black Country and Shropshire, has launched ‘Equip the Recovery’ to help more employers look at investing in apprentices by helping to remove some of the barriers.

It has committed to creating an additional 200 positions for young or mature learners between now and September and is asking businesses to get involved by creating roles within their companies.

In return, the Ofsted ‘Outstanding’-rated provider will offer one-to-one support to management teams to help them make the most of the Apprenticeship Levy, to navigate their digital apprenticeship service account, to understand the different training standards and to manage the matchmaking process so that firms get individuals that reflect their culture.

The campaign will also ask employers to submit their ‘pain points’ around vocational training, as well as celebrating the massive operational and commercial benefits apprentices deliver.

Gareth Jones, managing director of In-Comm Training, said: “Covid-19 has impacted young people harder than most and we need to do everything we can to ensure we don’t lose a generation of talent by opening up opportunities for them to learn skills and gain employment.

“To do this we need companies to come forward and work with us to identify apprentices that will help their businesses tackle specific issues around capacity, retaining skills or just increasing the pipeline of talent coming through the ranks.”

He continued: “A lot of firms don’t realise you can also use an apprenticeship for existing workers, in order to help retrain them in a new area – thus hopefully avoiding the possibility of redundancies when furlough comes to an end.”

Another essential part of ‘Equip the Recovery’ is In-Comm Training agreeing to take on up to 30 individuals, who desperately want to get into engineering and manufacturing, but can’t find the right opportunity.

Trainers at the firm will work with each person to look at the skills they need for their industrial development and decide on the journey they take, giving them the opportunity of Apprenticeships or upskilling courses until they can match them with an employer.

This cost will be covered by In-Comm and is completely different to the traditional approach where a company needs to be in place before the person can start their training.

In-Comm Training has seen an increase in demand from professional services and engineering clients over the last six weeks, as the UK emerges from lockdown.

Interest in recruiting an apprentice has risen 30 per cent based on the previous two months, but there are still a lot of concerns emanating from management teams trying to balance recovery with managing day-to-day pressures.

Some of the common ‘pain points’ it is hearing from bosses range from not ‘understanding the different standards and what they mean’ to ‘how many days will we lose our apprentice for’ and ‘can we get funding to support our investment’.

There was also a general theme emerging that apprentices are often matched based purely on their expected skill set, with little time taken to try to match the person with the culture of the business.

“Equip the Recovery is going to get to grips with these issues and at the end of the campaign we will produce a step-by-step guide to help companies navigate the apprenticeship journey. Now is the time to send in your pain points,” continued Mr Jones.

“There does appear to be a real sense of optimism as we emerge from the lockdown with a lot of pent-up demand pushing volumes and new opportunities. Capacity is an issue now and will be in the future, so investing in apprentices will be crucial if companies are to maximise the opportunities.”

Mr Jones concluded: “We are opening up another 200 apprenticeship places across our three academies in the Black Country and Shropshire. Now it’s time for industry and commerce to take advantage by investing in this generation and also considering how they upskill their existing workforce.”

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