Apprenticeship drive launched in Greater Birmingham to tackle youth unemployment
A campaign aimed at generating interest among employers across Greater Birmingham in taking advantage of more than 2,000 apprenticeship grants available specifically in this area has been launched today (Monday September 2).
The 100-day campaign by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership is seeking to make employers aware of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE), available for eligible businesses who take on a young apprentice.
The Birmingham City Deal – agreed between the GBSLEP and Government last year – made more than 3,500 AGE grants to businesses from the LEP area who employ a 16 to 24-year-old.
It is hoped during the 100 days of the campaign that 1,000 pledges from businesses to take on apprenticeships will be made.
These grants are worth £1,500 to employers – providing they employ less than 1,000 staff and have not taken on an apprentice in the last 12 months – and could, in some cases, be subject to a further enhancement.
Some 2,000 of the grants are still up for grabs and the new campaign, involving skills partners, such as local authorities, Sector Skills Councils, training providers, colleges and schools across the LEP, will aim to get employers to take them up.
Alan Volkaerts, GBSLEP Board Director with responsibility for employment and skills and Manufacturing Director at Jaguar Landrover, welcomed the campaign. He said: “We are all aware of the challenges we face in terms of youth unemployment at the moment and we are always looking for ways to tackle this.
“AGE grants are an excellent way of helping employers to take on young people, develop their workforce and grow their business.
“When we agreed the City Deal with Government in July last year, the deal included an allocation of 3,560 AGE grants ring-fenced for the GBSLEP area.
“So far, around 1,500 of these have been taken up by employers and we’re now working with the National Apprenticeship Service and our partners across the LEP to encourage greater take up going into 2014.
“It can take several months from the start of the process before the funds become available, so it is well worth employers who are planning ahead for 2014 to start thinking about the opportunities now.”
Last month, the GBSLEP launched the Skills Action Plan, which – among other targets – aims to reduce youth unemployment to the Core City LEP average by 2020 and below that by 2025 as well as recruit 1,000 additional apprentices in priority sectors.
To find out more about Apprenticeships and the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE), contact the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600 or visit our Apprenticeship page.