YOUNG people are being supported in apprenticeships during the recession with a partnership of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Lloyds bank.
The WMCA says the region’s recovery from the Covid-19 shutdown is being helped by the funding of £1.8m for apprenticeship training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The WMCA set up the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund to cover the costs of training apprentices at SMEs in the West Midlands, through large employers pledging their unspent levy.
Lloyds Banking Group was one of the first large employers to join the scheme with a pledged spend of £1.8m.
Over the past year, WMCA says it has funded the training costs of 250 apprentices at 135 SMEs in the region’s fastest growing sectors including business and professional services, adult care, construction, digital and engineering.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “It is critical that we support new jobs and training opportunities for people right across the West Midlands as we move through the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. This applies particularly to young people, who we know historically are disproportionately affected by economic downturns.
“Thanks to Lloyds Banking Group and other big employers who have contributed to the levy transfer fund, we are helping more and more local people find work by equipping them with the skills employers need. The region must do everything it can to keep people in work or support those who fall out, and our apprenticeship training is just one part of our wider employment work.
“I’d urge any SMEs in the West Midlands that are thinking about taking on new apprentices, or anyone out there looking for a job or change of career, to get in touch with us and find out how we can help.”
Charged by HM Revenue and Customs on all businesses with a payroll of over £3 million, the levy is held by the Government for businesses across the country to utilise the funds to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment by bringing in new talent or plugging skills gaps with their staff. Any unspent levy is retained by the Government after a two-year period.