A scheme set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to fund apprenticeship training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been boosted by £120,000.
The cash injection from HomeServe will fund the training of up to 20 new apprentices across the West Midlands, with the first four new engineering apprentices graduating last week after studying a Lean Manufacturing Operative course with Birmingham-based Lander Automotive.
The donation came from HomeServe’s unspent apprenticeship levy and was pledged to smaller businesses in the region through the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) £21m Apprenticeship Levy Transfer scheme.
L-R Lander Automotive's director of operations Simon Walker, apprentice Kymiah Jones, aged 17, and company people, culture and compliance manager Anita Davenport-Brooks are pictured at the graduation
The fund keeps levy money within the West Midlands, boosting skills, job opportunities and productivity by supporting more young people and adults of all ages into work.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “In these difficult times, it’s more important than ever that our next generation have the right skills to be able to move into good quality, full-time work. Apprenticeships are a great way of doing this, especially when many of the opportunities are in our region’s growth sectors where we know there will be tens of thousands of jobs up for grabs.
“It is no secret that apprenticeship numbers have been a challenge in recent years, but that’s why we’re asking large organisations like HomeServe to donate their unspent levy cash to help create opportunities at smaller firms. Not only does this help the firms hire apprentices they wouldn’t otherwise be able to, but it also helps equip local people with the skills they need to secure future work. This could not be more timely given the amount of people who have fallen out of work because of the pandemic, and I want to thank HomeServe for their donation to our levy fund.”
Karen Halford, HomeServe’s People Director, said: “We are excited to be creating these new opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds across the West Midlands to help them gain the skills the region needs to bounce back after the pandemic.
“HomeServe is committed to tackling the looming trades skills gap that we highlighted in the HomeServe Foundation’s UK Domestic Trades Skills Index. It found we need to increase the number of trades apprentices by 44 per cent year-on-year to keep up with growing demand from home owners, the construction industry and the Government’s drive to meet Net Zero targets.
“Small businesses find it much harder to take on apprentices because of the costs involved. This donation will give small firms in the region the opportunity to recruit talented apprentices who will help those firms to grow and take on more work.”
Lander Automotive, based at Woodgate Business Park, manufactures fluid and air carrying pipes, tubular fabrications and interior trim assemblies to the global automotive industry, which includes a variety of car manufacturers.
The company’s People, Culture and Compliance Manager, Anita Davenport-Brooks, said: “The levy transfer fund is enabling us to recruit more apprentices and offer them higher level qualifications through our training provider Dudley College of Technology, with opportunities for further progression.
“The donation from HomeServe has funded our latest four graduates who will now be working full time in our business. The value of apprentices is fantastic – they are the future of the industry. Many stay with us after their apprenticeship has finished, and those who leave have gained qualifications and experience to give their career a great start.”