WMCA celebrates funding over 2,000 apprentices into training

Nearly 800 small and medium-sized businesses in the West Midlands have been able to take on apprentices since the start of a funding scheme three years ago.

Mayor Andy Street at the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme celebration event
Mayor Andy Street at the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme celebration event

The West Midlands Combined Authority hosted an event to celebrate how the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme has helped nearly 2,500 apprentices start work with businesses across the region.

The scheme was set up by the WMCA to cover SME training and assessment costs of taking on an apprentice.

It uses money pledged by big business from their own unspent Apprenticeship Levy – a Government charge on all employers with a payroll of over £3 million to pay for apprenticeship training. This unspent money would normally go back to the government but under the initiative it is transferred via partnership with the WMCA to fund apprenticeship at smaller local firms.

The WMCA is aiming to get more local employers to take on apprentices or train their existing workers into new roles.

The event also recognised an additional £2.8m pledged in the last month by companies like HSBC, Lloyds, Pertemps, RAC, National Express, University of Birmingham, Lendlease, Arriva, and Mitie – bringing the total amount pledged to £37.5m.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chairman of the WMCA, said: “The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme has been a resounding success for our region – improving skills, providing jobs, and changing lives. I’m pleased therefore we have been able to take a moment to celebrate what we have achieved around apprenticeships in the West Midlands.

“Linking up our local talent with the plentiful opportunities on offer in industry is central to my 100,000 jobs plan as we bounce back from Covid. We must provide routes into high-quality, well-paid employment so that the young people in our region have prospects ahead to excite them and keep them and their families here in the years ahead.

“Thanks to the funds that larger businesses have donated, nearly 800 SMEs have already directly benefitted by being able to bring on board apprentices. And so, I would very much encourage firms from across the West Midlands who are looking to upskill their workforce to get in touch with us and see how we can help.

“The skills that people are learning as a result of the Apprentice Levy Transfer Scheme will set them up well for future careers and ensure we provide a lasting legacy for people across the region.”

The transfer deal agreed with the Government in 2018 was the first of its kind in the country helping to boost skills, job opportunities and productivity by supporting more young people and adults of all ages into work.

The WMCA is now calling on SMEs within the West Midlands who may not have considered hiring apprentices to tap into the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme.

Businesses wishing to register their interest can sign up for more information at wmca.org.uk/apprenticeship-levy

People considering starting an apprenticeship can find out more at apprenticeships.gov.uk

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