A £1.9m support package for apprenticeships has been introduced in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. 186 small businesses have received grants of £3,000 to help create new apprenticeship opportunities via Greater Manchester’s #SeeDifferent Small-to-Medium Enterprise Apprentice Support package, offering additional incentives to smaller employers and helping to remove barriers that may prevent them from creating apprenticeship opportunities.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “This support package has already created a substantial number of opportunities for residents in the city-region and we hope to create even more as we move forward.
“Apprenticeships are crucial in bridging the skills gap and creating good quality employment opportunities which boost productivity. It’s vital that we continue to remove the barriers and make job opportunities in the city-region feel accessible to Greater Manchester residents, both young and old.”
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) commissioned the Growth Company to develop and deliver an online apprenticeship Levy Matchmaking Service that ensures as many levy payers as possible transfer unspent funds to non-levy payers – negating the need for them to pay 5% co-investment costs. Since the launch, in August 2019, over £2 million has been committed by Greater Manchester’s apprenticeship levy payers which could support over 300 apprenticeships.
Large businesses are encouraged to pledge their unspent levy to the matchmaking service and can do so by visiting the Levy Matchmaking Service website.
Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council and GMCA lead for Education and Skills said: “These results show just how important apprenticeships are to the city-region and that we are doing everything we can to help businesses make the most of them.”
“Improving the quality and growth of apprenticeships is a fantastic way to get people into work, allowing them to have the support they need to enter and sustain employment and with the chance to up-skill and progress in their careers. Apprenticeships are an excellent route for anyone looking to start, change or develop their careers.”
Work has been carried out to deliver the Stimulating Employer Demand for Apprenticeships (SEDA) project which has provided 515 workforce development plans that have been implemented across the city-region. The plans aim to highlight any skills gaps or need for upskilling across businesses, then decide how to access training for existing staff or recruit new staff using the apprenticeship model and taking advantage to the funding available to them.
GMCA is continuously working to improve the quality and grow the numbers of apprenticeships in Greater Manchester with approximately 22,250 apprenticeships started in 2018/19.