Trafford Council's support for SMEs as we mark National Apprenticeship Week

This week is National Apprenticeship Week - and Trafford Council is marking the occasion by continuing to show its huge support for small and medium businesses in the borough.

The Council wants more SMEs to take advantage of its #SeeDifferent Small-to-Medium Enterprise (SME) scheme which offers a £3,000 grant to employers to help with salary and training costs associated with an apprenticeship. 

The scheme, which has so far benefited 17 different companies in the borough, is aimed at small and medium sized businesses who have not previously recruited an apprentice and offers additional incentives and support to remove barriers that have prevented them from taking on an apprentice.

Businesses have access to grants, help with training and recruitment, support with workforce planning and advice on creating quality opportunities in order to boost the number of high quality apprenticeship opportunities across the borough. The grant of £3,000 will go directly to businesses and will be available to eligible businesses until March 2020. 

The apprenticeship funding is aimed at attracting older people who may wish to retrain and start a new career as well as younger people just starting out on their careers.

One business to benefit from the scheme is The Doggy House in Altrincham. Owner Nat Taylor recently took on Amy Loftus, 18, to complete a Level 2 apprenticeship in animal welfare. Nat said:

With the grant you can stage the introduction of a new employee. It’s an opportunity to create and guide the right person for the job.”

Cougar Construction were another employer to benefit from the funding. A company spokesman said:

The scheme is a quick and easy process and it’s been really helpful to the business.”

Councillor James Wright, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration, said:

Trafford Council are totally committed to supporting local businesses and this has proved to be an exciting opportunity for employers and residents in Trafford.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy but employers sometimes struggle to navigate the skills system to access apprenticeships and don’t know where to go for help and guidance. This scheme supports employers with the process as well as providing funding to contribute towards the salary costs for an employer. “

To be eligible for the grant scheme the employer must be:

A Small or medium sized employer ( employing less than 250 staff)

Based in Trafford

Exempt from paying the apprenticeship levy

Not have taken on a new apprentice in the last two years

Willing to pay national minimum wage rate for age

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.”

Posted on Monday 3rd February 2020