22 Mar 2024

East Midlands Chamber welcomes government support for apprenticeships

Small businesses (SME’s) in the East Midlands could get a surge in under 21’s taking up apprenticeships, thanks to new government funding announced this week, say East Midlands Chamber.

In a speech at a business conference this week, the Prime Minister announced the measures set to be in place from 1st April which could reduce the costs to FE colleges and small businesses for apprentice training.

East Midlands Chamber Head of Employment Services Paul Needham said: “We know the value apprenticeships have on young people, in giving them real skills from a busy workplace and experiencing the challenges a business faces in a real world situation each day.  For too long cost has been a barrier for many would-be apprentices and SME’s.

“For opportunities to be opened in this way is something I very much welcome.  We work with a number of apprenticeship providers and see success after success when people achieve their goals; often they gain skills they had never envisaged. Businesses really see the benefit too as the enthusiasm to learn translates to good work so they’re a win-win.  The more we can help young people get into work and develop the skills SME’s need will have a positive effect on the wider economy in the East Midlands.”

Vision West Nottinghamshire College Head of Employer Engagement Karen Millward said: “The Prime Minister’s announcement of further apprenticeship funding for SMEs is a positive step in the right direction.  This can only bolster opportunities for skills development and employment within smaller businesses. By raising the age threshold for fully funded apprenticeships, they will be able to effectively invest in apprenticeship programmes, benefiting both their workforce and the overall economy.

“Forecasting cost is a major factor for firms looking to recruit. This additional support will remove some of that concern, increasing their ability to nurture new talent, bridge skills gaps and contribute to the growth of their businesses.

“We are hopeful this funding announcement will lead to increased apprenticeship opportunities locally, improve productivity, and provide a strong foundation for economic recovery.”