Darren Hankey, Principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education, has welcomed a new scheme which will assist small businesses to recruit young apprentices. The Tees Valley Combined Authority is one of only five organisations of its kind to receive funding to deliver a grant scheme to help small firms boost their workforce. It is hoped that positions could be created for up to 700 new apprentices through the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers 16-24 (AGE) scheme, which provides funding of up to £3,500 for businesses to employ individuals aged 16-24 years.
The scheme is available only to those working to approved apprenticeship ‘Frameworks’ and is designed for businesses which would otherwise not have been in a position to employ an apprentice. Mr Hankey’s College was recently named as the second best apprenticeship provider in the UK according to Government figures, and he hopes this new scheme will encourage more businesses to explore the apprentice option.
He said: “This grant has been held at the national level for a number of years and it is one of a raft of central funds devolved down to local economic areas as a part of the wider devolution process. It is encouraging to see the Tees Valley Combined Authority using these funds more generously than previously witnessed and it’s a great opportunity for SMEs to engage and recruit apprentices. As the largest provider of apprenticeship qualifications in the Tees Valley and the second best FE college in England in terms of apprenticeship success rates, Hartlepool College of FE is happy to help any organisation wishing to recruit apprentices. With the quality we provide and the funds available from TVCA – there has never been a better time for organisations to recruit apprentices.”
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Lead Member for Skills for Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “The devolving of the AGE grant to the Combined Authority will create significant opportunities for our smaller employers, in that we can be more flexible with the eligibility and features of a local scheme to make it available to as many Tees Valley businesses as possible. It will create more quality apprenticeships for our young people and provide employment and learning opportunities that will stand Tees Valley in good stead for the future.”
Contact the Apprenticeship team on 01429 404073 or e-mail email@example.com for more information