Apprenticeship funding boost for Walsall employers
Published in Business on 06 Jun 2012
The boss of a leading training provider has urged Walsall employers to take advantage of an innovative scheme that allows them to claim up to £3,000 for every local apprentice they take on.
Geoff Jones, Director at Aldridge-based In-Comm Training and Business Services, believes companies are missing out on a golden opportunity to solve their long-term skills shortage by making the most of Walsall Council’s ‘Walsall Works’ project.
Firms in the borough are being offered wage subsidies to help encourage them to invest in young people, with 550 places up for grabs covering careers such as Business Admin, Customer Service, Engineering, IT, Management, Business Improvement Techniques and Warehouse and Storage.
In-Comm, which is one of a small number of providers accredited to deliver the programme, has already placed one young person with a local manufacturer and is currently processing 20 further applications.
“This really is just the start,” explained Geoff, who runs the company with fellow Director Colin Mills.
“A lot of local businesses are faced with the issue of skills shortages and an ageing workforce and many, if questioned, would like to take an apprentice on.”
He continued: “With uncertainty rife, the additional financial strain might prevent them from going through with it. This wage subsidy from Walsall Council helps to take some of this pressure away and when firms know about it they can’t wait to get involved.
“It’s a win-win as it reduces youth unemployment locally and employers get a member of staff they can develop.”
In-Comm, which is approaching its 30thanniversary in 2012, offers a free organisational needs analysis to all companies and will then work closely with them to find, interview and select the right candidate.
Apprentices can be Intermediate (level 2) or Advanced (level 3) and all the training will be carried out by a team of specialists either on-site at the client or its fully equipped Vigo Place centre.
There is a limit of 3 apprentices that can be employed and both the company and the young person need to be located in Walsall.
For employers outside of the borough, In-Comm can also use its involvement in a national scheme to offer access to a £1,500 wage subsidy, and members of the In-Comm Group Training Association could be eligible for a further £500.
Colin Mills picked up the story: “The benefits of investing in Apprentices are huge and, thanks to the local council’s foresight and commitment to reducing youth unemployment, there has never been a better time to get involved.
“In particular, we are looking to engage with companies that haven’t been down this route before.”
In-Comm has been offering industry and commerce a wide range of training and business solutions for nearly 30 years.
This includes support in management development, health and safety, quality assurances, investors in people, Business Improvement Techniques, Lean Manufacturing and specific skills courses.
The firm also has a proven track record of developing Engineering Apprentices through its range of specialist packages, starting with Bronze (delivered at the client’s premises) and culminating with Platinum, which involves 5 days training at In-Comm’s workshop and machining centre.
Geoff concluded: “We successfully trained and found employment for 88% of our young engineers last year and, with this new scheme in place, we believe there’ll be even more in 2012.”
In-Comm’s involvement in ‘Walsall Works’ marks a successful year for the business, which has also seen it become one of the first providers to achieve the Training Excellence accreditation.
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