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Businesses get £2,500 for taking on apprentices

[A] scheme that aims to create 50 apprenticeships and reward employers with a cash incentive of up to £2,500 has given out its first bursaries.

Eight businesses and organisations – ranging from play equipment manufacturers, construction and engineering firms to schools and garages – have taken on apprentices through the scheme, which started at the end of last year.

Furness College is leading the scheme for Furness Economic Development Forum’s “strengthening supply chains and transforming skills” programme, funded by the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF), which encourages the economic development of UK coastal communities by giving funding to create sustainable economic growth and jobs. Small and medium sized firms with less than 250 employees who operate in supply chains across Furness out to Grange and Millom are eligible to apply.

Neil Mathers
Neil Mathers

Neil Mathers, of the Business Employment Support Team at Furness College, who is managing the project said it was a great opportunity for employers and apprentices alike.

“We see this as a win-win for employers and new apprentices,” he said. “Hopefully it will encourage some businesses to take the step and recruit an apprentice while others can take on additional apprentices.”

He said there was a total of £125,000 in funding available for successful employers who can apply for the discretionary support to a Coastal Communities Fund Apprenticeship bursary of between £1,000 and £2,500.

Successful applicants so far include Chris Ritchie Garage Services, Central Garage, Ramsden Infant School, Arbor Construction, Larkin Engineering Services, Playdale Playgrounds Limited, South Lakeland Mini Centre and St Pius X Catholic School.

Lynne Metcalfe, HR manager at the award-winning Playdale Playgrounds in Haverthwaite, said the company had taken on two apprentices under the scheme because it had a desire to promote and upskill from within to enable it to continue to successfully expand.

She said: “There is a skills gap in technical and craft disciplines in the local area and Playdale being in a rural location compounds this situation. Taking on two apprentices is the first step in the aspiration to develop an apprenticeship programme which will allow for a more strategic approach to recruitment and help develop our current skills base.”

Map of areas covered by the Coastal Communities Fund
Map of areas covered by the Coastal Communities Fund

Chris Ritchie, owner of Chris Ritchie Garage Services in Barrow, who has taken on an apprentice under the scheme said knowing that his staff had been well-trained through an apprenticeship and had the most relevant skills to do their job was very important.  He said: “The apprenticeship scheme gives me the assurance that my new apprentices are as well qualified as I need them to be and have had the most up-to-date training from Furness College. In my experience the apprentices I have had have been eager, motivated, flexible and loyal to my company.”

Businesses who operate in supply chains in areas including electronics, manufacturing, marine, education and STEM topics are eligible to apply.

To find out more, call Neil at Furness College on 01229 844829/01229 825017 or via email [email protected].

Craig Paterson
Craig Paterson

APPRENTICE CASE STUDY – Craig Paterson (Apprentice at Chris Ritchie Garage Services)

“I chose to do an apprenticeship as I wanted a recognised qualification and to become a fully qualified motor vehicle technician. I chose Furness College for the training as I’d attended a full-time course and was lucky enough to get a placement. On the apprenticeship I enjoy learning all of the theory side of the job that I do on a daily basis. My employer is very supportive and my assessor is always there when he is needed and he keeps me focused on what I need to do within my qualification. You learn new skills, it starts you off on your career ladder and you gain a recognised qualification.”

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