South Devon College has welcomed the recent announcement from the Government which outlines additional funding incentives for businesses taking on apprentices.

Companies will be in line to receive up to £3,000 from the Government for each apprentice they hire in a bid to encourage the continuous growth of apprenticeships through the pandemic.

For each recruited apprentice aged 16-24, businesses will receive £2,000 and for each recruit aged over 25 businesses will receive £1,500, all of which will be in addition to the existing £1,000 Government bonus for 16-18 recruits and 19-24 with an Education Healthcare plan. The Government will also pay employers £1,000 to take on trainees through the Traineeship programme.

This will be much needed support and encouragement to continue the development of workforces across the country and provide opportunities for those wishing to study but also needing an income.

Just before this support was announced, South Devon College’s Head of Apprenticeships and Employer Engagement, Emily Tucker, hosted a webinar session that discussed the potential of this. A panel joined her to discuss the state of apprenticeships at this point and moving into the future as the country recovers. The panel was made up of:

  • Laurence Frewin – Principal and CEO of South Devon College
  • Sharron Robbie – Managing Director of Devon and Cornwall Training Provider Network
  • Alison Thompson – Head of Learning and Development at Princess Yachts
  • Helena White – Director of HR Dept

Sharon Robbie said: “Apprenticeships are at the front and centre of plans for national recovery with the Prime Minister putting big emphasis on skills development being key to rebooting the economy.

“Whilst apprenticeship opportunities have inevitably declined in some but not all places, traineeships are a great alternative to expanding your workforce, developing new talent, and also have incentive payments from the Government too.”

Alison Thompson from Princess Yachts confirmed in the webinar that their company is one of those that hasn’t seen downfall in their apprentice recruitment, saying “last year we recruited 35 apprentices, whereas this year we have recruited 66” almost doubling their intake.

Sharon continued: “Coming out of lockdown, an extra pair of hands could be what you’re looking for and a traineeship is in essence like a trial. This way you can see what that person is like and how they fit in your business across a programme as short as 6 weeks or as long as 6 months.

“If all works out well, there could be an opportunity for the trainee to progress to an apprenticeship in the new year as the economy recovers more. It’s a fantastic way to keep young people engaged and give them a taste of working in your business and industry.

“I urge that if you’re an employer and you’re looking to put something back into the community and need someone to join your workforce, think about a traineeship and get in touch with the College to help.”

Helena White from The HR Dept followed the rest of the panel giving employers some great clarification in various areas that businesses have had questions about including furlough, flexible furlough, redundancy alternatives and much more.

Giving an update on the College’s current stance and plans for the future, Principal and CEO of South Devon College, Laurence Frewin, said: “We expect to welcome our students back to our Covid secure College in September but with a ‘blended delivery’ where there will be a mix of online and face-to-face learning.

“We’ve made a request for significant additional funding from the Government with support from local MPs. A lot of that is tailored towards people, employment and skills. But ahead of additional funding coming in, we’ve developed a variety of retraining packages.

“These will be ideal for people looking to develop existing skills to retain their job or upskill to respond to the new direction their jobs have taken during this time. They can also make people more employable whether you have lost employment or if you simply desire a change of career. The packages are 6 weeks long with others being longer for more in-depth skills and knowledge. There will be new opportunities as we move forward with businesses needing help as they recover from the economic impact of Covid-19.

“We support 16-18 year olds with their apprenticeships, offering bursaries and free travel amongst other benefits that come with studying at South Devon College. But our support extends to adults over the age of 18 too who need just as much help and just as much opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

Whether you employ apprentices or not, the latest webinar has a wealth of information that is useful for all businesses to know. You can watch the webinar back at southdevon.ac.uk/employers.

Going back to the question at hand – are apprenticeships and traineeships key to rebooting the economy? Despite the uncertainty the country has faced over the last few months, it’s clear that investment is being put in to make recruiting apprentices and trainees less daunting to employers and this in turn will continue to develop the next generation of workers, increase productivity of businesses, and help the economy recover.

For more information, visit southdevon.ac.uk/employers where you can find everything that South Devon College can offer your business. If you have any questions, get in touch by calling 08000 380 123 or email [email protected].