The Government has today launched a £10m trial Apprenticeship Expansion Programme in a bid to develop the nation’s skills over the next three years.
As part of an attempt to increase the number of apprentices in England to 400k by 2010, the programme will provide extra funding to those businesses already running high quality and successful apprenticeship programmes, allowing them to reach more young people looking for apprenticeship positions.
The Learning and Skills Council will provide extra funding for help with additional costs associated with the trials, such as wages, training, and management costs of learners, and will work alongside employers to ensure apprenticeships are delivered in a flexible and innovative way.
David Way, national director of apprenticeships at the LSC, said: “Given the current economic slowdown it is important that companies continue training their staff to maintain productivity and a competitive edge. Employing apprentices is an ideal way for businesses to position themselves as leaders for the recovery. The new funding will make it easier for businesses to do this and provide the opportunity for industry sectors to successfully fill their existing skills gaps.”
The British Hospitality Association has called for more employers to take on apprentices as a way of boosting the craft skill level in the catering industry. A spokesperson said: "The apprenticeship system goes back centuries but, updated and properly planned and managed, it continues to have great relevance in the 21st century. Hospitality apprenticeship programmes now are extremely important because they combine college education with on-the-job
training and work experience."
Businesses with a proven track record of successful apprenticeship schemes that are keen to be involved in the trials, should contact the LSC on 024 7682 3668 or at www.lsc.gov.uk by 16 January 2009.