Apprenticeships in Tameside – Growth and Further Opportunities for Employers
The Apprenticeship story in Tameside continues to be a successful one. The borough has been named as the second highest provider in Greater Manchester for new starts, and best in the North West for starting young people aged 16-18 on Level 3 (A Level standard) frameworks. Locally, the numbers of adults (aged 25 or more) starting a programme has seen the biggest rise in numbers.
To support further actions leading to increased numbers and better quality, a new ‘Tameside Apprenticeship Strategy’ has been published detailing the partnership work that is to take place between now and 2015. Key to growth is the need to work more directly with small and medium sized businesses in the Tameside area to help remove barriers that prevent their participation, and to persuade their CEOs of the business advantages to be gained from using apprenticeships for new recruitment and for the workforce development of existing staff. A copy of the new Strategy may be downloaded from the recently launched local website http://www.tameside-apprentices.org/ . This will incrementally become the one-stop shop for all local information about apprenticeships, and will complement the national information available from the National Apprenticeship Service at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
A successful Employer Engagement Event, ‘Fighting the Fog’ around apprenticeships was held on January 18th at The Village in Ashton. Aimed at employers new to apprenticeships, sessions dealt with the reality behind common myths about the programme, support available, funding grants and eligibility. Delegates heard from current apprentices and their employers about the benefits to be gained from involvement. Over 90 employers attended.
To commemorate the start of National Apprenticeship Week (February 6-10th) 2012, Tameside College hosted a Master Chef Challenge, in which College Hospitality and Catering apprentices were teamed with budding stars from nine Tameside high schools to produce a starter and main course to impress the judges. The Mayor, Cllr Susan Quinn, and Hotel Chef, David Walker were amongst the judges making the difficult (but tasty!) decisions. Pupils from Copley and Mossley Hollins High Schools were eventual winners.
Funding support for Employers
To support employers taking on apprenticeships a number of schemes are now available which offer cash incentives:
Tameside’s own 50/50 Scheme (50 Apprentices recruited in 50 days) – launched on February 6th – offers employers a £1000 grant (payable after 20 weeks employment) for taking on a 16-18 year old as an apprentice. Further details may be found at www.tameside-apprentices.org/5050/
The National Apprenticeship Service has grants of £1500 available to employers taking on apprentices. Basic eligibility rules state that it must be the first apprentice for 3 years, the company has less than 250 employees, the apprentice must be aged 16-24, and the employment contract must last a minimum of 12 months. Further details may be found at http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/Employers/Steps-to-make-it-happen/Incentive.aspx