Thousands of people look set to get a head start in Staffordshire as a new national Apprenticeship Levy is rolled out from tomorrow.
The new scheme aims to pave the way for new starters and people already in work to learn new skills in a mixture of study and practical experience.
From April 6th big employers, including Staffordshire County Council, will be encouraged to take on more apprentices across departments.
The changes apply to all organisations which have a payroll in excess of £3 million per year and employers will be able to use their “levy pot” to help cover training costs.
Darryl Eyers, Staffordshire County Council’s Director for Economy, Infrastructure and Skills, said:
The Levy is designed to be used to give employers more flexibility to invest in training a new generation of workers and to improve the skills and expertise of existing staff.
Although it is still early days for this scheme, becoming an apprentice is a great way to learn while you work and we would encourage all businesses, regardless of their size, to consider the value of taking on an apprentice.”
In Staffordshire, initiatives such as the Ladder for Staffordshire, has encouraged businesses to take on young people and help ensure courses and training at colleges meet employers’ specific needs for skilled workers.
This resulted in Staffordshire students taking courses in general engineering, science, technology and engineering courses linked to the automotive and agricultural industries, as well as IT and digital design.
Tom Hassall, 21, from Stone, is a Level 2 highways maintenance apprentice with Staffordshire County Council’s highways partner Amey.
Tom, pictured above, is 12 months into his apprenticeship. He said:
I love the work I do. I enjoy being hands on and working outside, so a job in highways maintenance is perfect for me and every day is different.
The best thing about my apprenticeship is that I get to learn from actually doing the job and I get paid at the same time. I have to learn the theory as well, but my favourite bit is getting out on the roads and putting it into practice.
I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship to other young people.”
Employers and people interested in apprenticeships can find out more locally by calling the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or looking at https://www.gov.uk/topic/further-education-skills/apprenticeships