GBSLEP Blog – Alan Volkaerts (August 2013)
Last month, the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership launched its Skills for Growth plan, setting out how stakeholders involved in skills and employment could work together to bring about a step-change in our performance in skills.
Nobody would disagree that skills and employment are fundamental to the success of the future economy in Greater Birmingham.
Quite simply, we need to up our game significantly in order to bring our skills and employment levels up to the core city averages.
Apprenticeships have a key part to play in this and, during negotiations for the Birmingham City Deal last year, it was decided that an allocation of 3,560 Apprenticeship Grants for Employers would be made from Government to use specifically in the GBSLEP area.
These grants are an excellent way of encouraging employers who employ less than 1,000 staff and haven’t taken on an apprentice in the last 12 month to take on apprentices, providing £1,500 to help them grow their businesses.
The campaign we are preparing to launch in early September is part of our efforts to raise awareness among employers about the opportunities that are available and the benefits of taking on apprentices.
By working with our partners locally and nationally, we hope to encourage a greater take-up of the 2,000 or so remaining AGE grants which have been ring-fenced for Greater Birmingham.
Looking on a more long-term basis, we recognise that far more needs to be done to raise the profile of apprenticeships with both employers and young people.
This specifically means more apprentices in the sectors upon which Greater Birmingham’s future economic prosperity lies.
We acknowledge the scale of the challenge but with the right plan and the correct strategy to tackle it, we can look ahead with confidence.