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Employers urged to take ‘skills pledge’ to protect pipeline of apprentices

By John Corser | Business Picks | Published:

One of the UK’s leading training providers has launched a new campaign to ensure apprenticeships are protected as companies seek to find ways of coping with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bekki Phillips

In-Comm Training, which operates three academies at Aldridge, Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury, is asking firms in the West Midlands to sign-up to its ‘Skills Pledge’, which will see them commit to supporting apprentices, raising the profile of vocational learning and ‘upskilling’ their workforces.

‘Powering the Engine’ will last for over a year and will ensure the business world does not sacrifice the investment and time it has channelled into developing the talent they are going to desperately need to help reignite the economy now that lockdown is starting to ease.

Eight companies have already taken one of the pledges, including Brandauer, CHH Conex, Glassworks Hounsell, Gotronic, Holbourne Industrial Plastics, Kiyokuni Europe, MET Recruitment and Valen Fittings.

Bekki Phillips, managing director of In-Comm Training, explained: “The impact of Covid-19 has turned the economy upside down and many firms are trying to work out how they navigate their way through the crisis, making a lot of tough decisions in the process.

“We had noticed that a few firms were starting to let their apprentices go due to cost-cutting and wanted to address this before it becomes a major issue for young people and for an economy that is staring at a major talent drain.”

She continued: “There has been too much progress made in bridging the skills gap for us to just sit back and watch this happen, so we’ve decided to do something about it by launching the In-Comm Training Skills Pledge.

“Companies can sign-up for one, two or all three of the options and in return we offer a range of tangible incentives and our own commitment to lobby Government on their behalf, so that we can secure as much assistance as possible to support skills development in these difficult times.”

The three pledges for the ‘Powering the Engine’ campaign are: apprenticeship ambassadors – the company and an apprentice will give up one hour of their time to participate in promoting the benefits of apprenticeships; skills support for the workforce – a commitment to put some of its staff through upskilling courses over the next 12 months and apprenticeship recruitment – to recruit one or more apprentices every year.

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Companies taking part will receive a specific incentive depending on the pledge they take and these range from a free skills audit and report, to free learning mentor courses and five per cent off the cost of upskilling courses (when they cost over £500).

For every firm that signs up, In-Comm has also committed to manufacturing five visors for the NHS or local care homes.

Bekki concluded: “We want to get people talking about skills and highlighting the huge benefits apprentices can bring to the bottom line of a business, regardless of which sectors they operate in.

“This could be through social media campaigns, taking part in virtual networking, writing thought leadership articles or contributing video case studies. Let’s keep training on the agenda so we continue to have new talent coming through the ranks.

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“Apprenticeships can also be used to upskill an existing employee, so they develop new skills and are more flexible to the business. A lot of levy paying companies are still having to shoulder costs so they might as well make the most of the situation.”

In-Comm Training has delivered in excess of 40 different trailblazer apprenticeships to 800 apprentices over the last 12 months.

All of these have been written in partnership with world class industrial partners to ensure the technical content is right for their current and future requirements, whilst all individuals apply their learning on machinery and equipment that will future proof them for years to come.

The company has recently been named as one of the training providers for a new skills fund run by the West Midlands Combined Authority, which means firms do not have to pay the five per cent contribution to take on an Apprenticeship, saving up to £1,350.

For further information or to take the skills pledge, visit www.in-comm.co.uk or follow @incomm_training on Twitter.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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