A campaign urging Manchester businesses to join the Apprentice Revolution is closing in on its ambitious target of creating 300 apprenticeships in just 100 days.
With 242 new Apprenticeships created in Manchester since the launch date (Thursday 9 February), the Apprentice Revolution campaign is succeeding in its mission to highlight the benefits Apprentices bring to businesses of all sizes and sectors - as well as dispelling some of the myths that have attached to Apprenticeships in the past.
Apprentices can be new or existing employees of any age. The government meets the cost of training for 16-18 year-old Apprentices, while employers can receive a contribution of up to 50 per cent if the Apprentice is aged 19 or over. There is also a £1,500 incentive for small and medium sized firms which don't currently hire Apprentices to take on their first Apprentice in 2012/13.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority have added to this government offer by pledging a further £750 grant to employers of any size creating Apprenticeships for young people aged 16 - 24 who were previously unemployed or NEET (not in education, employment or training)
Businesses wishing to take advantage of these incentives have 240 different Apprenticeships to choose from, from marketing to the music business to financial services. The diversity is such that new opportunities created through the Apprentice Revolution so far range from investment banking at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Manchester city centre to digital media technicians at St Peter's RC High School, Longsight.
Deputy leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Sue Murphy, said:
"It's great news for Manchester that more than 200 new Apprenticeships have been created in such a short space of time. Businesses, families and individuals will all feel the benefits, but we're not finished yet and are confident that the target of 300 opportunities will be reached before the end of the campaign.
"No Manchester business should think that Apprenticeships don't apply to them. Apprenticeships are a practical and highly rewarding recruitment option for businesses of all sectors and all sizes, from global financial services companies to family-owned small businesses."
Withington-based civil engineering company Westbourne plan to use Apprenticeships to help them expand as a business and have committed to creating two Advanced Apprenticeships - one in quantity surveying and one in project management.
Westbourne, who have taken on four new projects across the North West in recent weeks and are anticipating further new projects in the near future, are planning for their first two Apprentices to start work in June and expect to take on extra Apprentices in the coming months
Commercial Manager for Westbourne, Chris Bithell, said, "Since the turn of the year, we have noticed an increase in tenders and have taken on numerous projects. To satisfy our current growth, we are investing heavily in the Apprenticeship scheme to develop and promote current and future employees. Our commitment to developing individuals is the key to our future success and business growth."
Chris added, "Having qualified from a trainee management scheme myself as a teenager, I am keen to extend a similar opportunity to other young people."
To encourage firms to take advantage of Apprenticeships, the National Apprenticeship Service offer a dedicated support team, able to guide employers right through the process of taking on apprentices. Help is also available with the recruitment process and red tape is kept to a minimum.
Sue Price, Divisional Apprenticeship Director - Northern for the National Apprenticeship Service said: "By agreeing to take on an Apprentice, employers are not only supporting their local community, they are also making a good business decision to grow their own talented workforce. I would urge all employers to look at their current and future recruitment needs to see if they could take on an apprentice."
To find out more about the benefits Apprentices can deliver to your business, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.manchester.gov.uk/apprenticeships.