Apprenticeships in East Lancashire: support for SMEs in Burnley and beyond to take on staff to train
Well help is at hand for SMEs in our area, thanks to a collaboration between the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce (ELCC) and Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
They are working on a scheme which would take a lot of the concerns away – helping SMEs navigate through the rules, regulations and paperwork, signpost to apprenticeship training and even help with the cost of paying for an apprentice.
Why take on an apprentice?
There are many good reasons for taking on apprentices into your business, both financially and in terms of business and staff development.
Mark Greenhalgh, Training Business Development Manager at ELCC, explained: “Apprenticeships are an incredible way to recruit and train future talent and upskill existing staff. It is a way of developing new talent and can be aligned to your business needs.
“With a tailored programme, an apprentice can work to your specific business needs and requirements. Employers say apprenticeships helped them to develop skills which are relevant to their organisation.”
Apprenticeships mean not only do you get trained staff, but people trained specifically to your business needs, helping to perfectly fill skills gaps in your industry.
It also involves your existing workforce – utilising the experience and skillsets of your current employees to pass on to the next generation.
Apprenticeships can grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce, which is invested in your industry and your business, and has been shown to improve productivity and quality of products and services.
What support is there?
East Lancashire Chamber realises that taking on an apprentice can seem a daunting task, especially for an SME which may feel it cannot find the time to fully devote to finding out all about it and setting it up.
Mark added: “Employing and training an apprentice is an investment of both time and money for the employer, so it goes without saying that everyone involved wants to achieve the best return on that investment.
“However, for a number of reasons some apprentices can leave their apprenticeship early without finishing their training – meaning that everyone involved in the apprentice journey loses out. Speaking from experience, this can lead to a negative perception of apprenticeships which we hope to change with this project.”
The new partnership between ELCC and GMCC will deliver support for SMEs in nine local authorities – including Burnley.
Once it’s up and running it will give small and medium sized business access to a range of support including explaining the funding rules and explaining businesses obligations as an employer of an apprentice.
There will be help to navigate the Government’s Apprenticeship Service website and access to funding that removes the cost of your apprentice’s training. There will also be introductions to appropriate apprenticeship training and direct support to help you recruit your own apprentice.
Who will qualify for support?
The chamber has set out some clear rules for qualification. SMEs must have:
Less than 250 members of staff
Operate within one of the following sectors: adult social care, construction or manufacturing
Be looking to hire a digital apprentice in any sector
Have been trading for at least 12 months
Not have employed and apprentice in the past two years.
The scheme is open to SMEs in the Burnley area but also Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Tameside and Wigan
Find out more?
If this is something you think could be useful to your business please click on the link to register your interest.
After that a member of the Apprenticeship Support for SMEs team will contact you to discuss your specific apprenticeship support needs.