South Devon College has welcomed a Government announcement which outlines additional funding incentives for businesses taking on apprentices.

Sharron Robbie, managing director of Devon and Cornwall Training Provider NetworkSharron Robbie, managing director of Devon and Cornwall Training Provider Network

Companies will be in line to receive up to £3,000 from the Government for each apprentice they hire in a bid to encourage the continuous growth of apprenticeships through the pandemic.

For each recruited apprentice aged 16 to 24, businesses will receive £2,000 and for each recruit aged over 25 businesses will receive £1,500, all of which will be in addition to the existing £1,000 Government bonus for 16-to-18 year old recruits and 19 to 24 year olds with an Education Health and Care Plan.

The Government will also pay employers £1,000 to take on trainees through the traineeship programme.

A South Devon College spokesman said: “This will be much-needed support and encouragement to continue the development of workforces across the country and provide opportunities for those wishing to study but also needing an income.

“Despite the uncertainty the country has faced over the last few months, it’s clear that investment is being put in to make recruiting apprentices and trainees less daunting to employers and this, in turn, will continue to develop the next generation of workers, increase productivity of businesses, and help the economy recover.”

Just before the support was announced, Emily Tucker, South Devon College’s head of apprenticeships and employer engagement, hosted a webinar session that discussed the potential of this.

A panel joined her to discuss the state of apprenticeships at this point and moving into the future as the country recovers. The panel was made up of: Laurence Frewin, principal and CEO of South Devon College; Sharron Robbie, managing director of Devon and Cornwall Training Provider Network; Alison Thompson, head of learning and development at Princess Yachts and Helena White, director of HR Dept.

Sharron Robbie said: “Apprenticeships are at the front and centre of plans for national recovery with the Prime Minister putting big emphasis on skills development being key to rebooting the economy.

“While apprenticeship opportunities have inevitably declined in some but not all places, traineeships are a great alternative to expanding your workforce, developing new talent, and also have incentive payments from the Government too.”

Alison Thompson confirmed Princess Yachts has not seen downfall in apprentice recruitment: “Last year, we recruited 35 apprentices, whereas this year we have recruited 66.”

Sharron added: “Coming out of lockdown, an extra pair of hands could be what you’re looking for and a traineeship is in essence like a trial. This way you can see what that person is like and how they fit in your business across a programme as short as six weeks or as long as six months. I urge that if you’re an employer and you’re looking to put something back into the community and need someone to join your workforce, think about a traineeship and get in touch with the College to help.”

Principal and CEO of South Devon College, Laurence Frewin, said: “We expect to welcome our students back to our Covid-secure college in September but with a ‘blended delivery’ where there will be a mix of online and face-to-face learning.

“We’ve made a request for significant additional funding from the Government with support from local MPs. A lot of that is tailored towards people, employment and skills. But ahead of additional funding coming in, we’ve developed a variety of retraining packages.

“These will be ideal for people looking to develop existing skills to retain their job or upskill to respond to the new direction their jobs have taken during this time.

“They can also make people more employable whether you have lost employment or if you simply desire a change of career.

“The packages are six weeks long with others being longer for more in-depth skills and knowledge. There will be new opportunities as we move forward with businesses needing help as they recover from the economic impact of Covid-19. We support 16 to 18 year olds with their apprenticeships, offering bursaries and free travel among other benefits that come with studying at South Devon College. But our support extends to adults over the age of 18 too who need just as much help and just as much opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

For more information, visit southdevon.ac.uk/employers where you can find everything that South Devon College can offer your business. If you have any questions, get in touch by calling 08000 380 123 or email employers@southdevon.ac.uk.