AN APPRENTICE training scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has smashed its £40million milestone.
The program was set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and has helped more than 3,000 people across the region get their first introduction into work and gives local businesses the ability to pay a better apprenticeship wage to attract future talent into their businesses.
It was initially set up in March 2019, The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund allows some of the UK’s biggest businesses to cover all of the training cost of apprentices for SMEs by donating their unspent levy to the WMCA rather than see it returned to government.
To date, a total of 1,043 SMEs from across a wide range of sectors have benefited from the fund.
In turn, the region ultimately benefits from more job opportunities and a boost in skills and productivity.
Willinbrook Care Home, a specialist centre located in Birmingham for people with advanced dementia or mental health problems, have been just one of the SMEs who have benefited from the scheme.
In 2022, the care home took on ten level 2 and level 3 apprentices to work as Nurse Associates, Care Assistants and Team Leads, with delivery support from Sandwell College.
Liliane Ntirandekura, head of training and development at Willowbrook Care Home, said: “The apprenticeship levy funds donated have been a massive incentive for us as it means we were able to take on more apprentices in 2022 than we have before and certainly encourages us to think about recruiting even more in 2023.
“This is now the fourth year that we’ve been able to benefit from the scheme and I’m very glad we’re able to give the opportunity for youngsters to get real working experience at a fair pay.”
West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, said: “A key part of my mayoral mission is to ensure local people have the skills they need to succeed.
“That’s why it’s fantastic news that – in just under four years – our Apprenticeship Levy Fund has been backed by our region’s bigger businesses to the tune of over £40million.
“These donations from businesses help to support the growth of talent working at small and medium sized enterprises right across the West Midlands.
“We’ve made real progress in tackling youth employment which has meant that over 3,000 people who may not otherwise have been given the chance have been guided onto the first step of their career.”
For more or to sign up visit https://www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/productivity-skills/apprenticeship-levy-fund/.