A new £3,000 incentive is being offered to employers who take on a Manchester apprentice.
The money is being offered by Manchester City Council to those who hire apprentices aged 16-18. The funding is a legacy of the Future Jobs Fund set up by the previous government, with money due to the council for the administration of the scheme being used to support further youth employment.
Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "There are already many compelling reasons why employers would want to take on an apprentice.
"We’re proud to announce this incentive which will make it even more attractive for businesses to take on young people. It’s a real win-win scenario.
"Apprenticeships are a practical and highly-rewarding recruitment option for businesses of all sectors and sizes, from global financial services companies to family-run small businesses. At the same time they help the young people to gain the skills and confidence which will stand them in good stead for their future careers.
"I’d encourage employers who are considering taking on a young apprentice to make the most of this offer as soon as possible. When the funding is gone, it’s gone."
While the offer is not limited to Manchester companies, the apprentice must be a Manchester resident. The maximum number of grants which can be awarded per employer is two.
For further information on Apprenticeships and more details of this funding, visit www.manchester.gov.uk/apprenticeships
Ashley McKay, from Withington, started a 12-month Digital Marketing apprenticeship at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre last October.
The opening, which Ashley saw advertised on the theatre’s Twitter feed, gave him the perfect opportunity to lay the foundations for a career reflecting his interests in digital technology and the creative arts.
He hopes the new incentive will help others benefit from apprenticeships.
"I finished my A-Levels in 2008 and went straight to work", explained Ashley, 23. "Before I started at the Royal Exchange, I had been working at a hotel for about a year, but was always hoping to find work that better suited my skills.
"In my spare time, I taught myself how to use graphic design and video editing software. I designed a website for a local theatre company, but I didn’t have any work experience in the digital field, or any formal qualifications.
"I followed the Royal Exchange on Twitter because I was interested in going to see plays there, so when I noticed their advert for the opportunity to join them as an Apprentice, I was really keen to apply."
Since starting his Apprenticeship, Ashley, who studies for one day per week at The Manchester College as part of his course, has been creating promotional videos, working on the theatre’s social media accounts and also authoring content for a monthly e-bulletin, which is issued to 60,000 subscribers.
His next project is to produce a video publicising a forthcoming production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, featuring interviews with the cast and director, rehearsal footage and other glimpses behind the scenes.
"By doing an apprenticeship, I am building on my skills and interests by getting a qualification and work experience with a prestigious employer", said Ashley.
"Having this experience on my CV is invaluable – as is the fact that I’m earning money at the same time."