MP for Newbury Laura Farris met with West Berkshire Training Consortium (WBTC) leaders to launch its innovative 100 Apprenticeship Challenge this week.
The MP, who has a special interest in employment and education, joined the Chair and staff of the consortium at their offices in Newbury to back the initiative, which will encourage large levy-paying employers to donate unspent levy funds to smaller employers who can use the donation to fund the training of new apprentices.
The Chairman of WBTC, Anthony Bravo, commented on how the challenge will boost local employers who may not have the funds to support a new apprentice and said: “It is great news that large levy-paying employers can donate up to 25% of their unspent levy funds to smaller employers. The money would otherwise just return to the treasury when it was always intended to be used to train the talent of the future. This way, small employers can bid for the funds and get the support they need to get their businesses back on track.”
Laura Farris was delighted to endorse the initiative set up by WBTC, which will see them actively encourage large employers to donate funds to pay for a target of 100 apprentices. She said: “I wholeheartedly support this initiative which is spearheaded by the WBTC. The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer scheme is a great opportunity for large employers to donate funds to smaller local employers to fund the training of 100 apprentices. In an area like West Berkshire, where we have a thriving small-business sector, this creates great opportunities for young people to develop skills in the heart of the local economy. The pandemic has rocked many small businesses to the core, and this well-timed financial support for new apprentices could make all the difference to their recovery.”
Several high-profile local employers are already on board with the concept, with Thatcham Research, H Youngs Holdings and West Berkshire Council already committing funds which could support 15 apprentices.
WBTC’s Managing Director Matt Garvey, who is leading the campaign, explained how it would work: “Large employers have to pay a levy into a levy account which they can then draw down to fund the training of apprentices in their organisation. Frequently some of the money in the account goes unspent, so the government, in a bid to boost recovery, has allowed them to donate some of their unspent funds. Our aim is to encourage the donations and match small employers with donating organisations to build back our local economy and give small businesses the boost they need.”
Laura visited WBTC’s headquarters in Newbury today and took the opportunity to join a class of Great Start students as they learned about preparing a CV for work. She confirmed she will be promoting the 100 Apprentice campaign throughout the constituency and encourages large and small employers to get on board.
FIND OUT MORE
Click here for more information about the WBTC 100 Apprentice Challenge and how to get involved.