Lloyds Banking Group pledges £9m towards apprenticeships in the UKMember News
Made in the Midlands patron Lloyds Banking Group has pledged £9m to UK SMEs to help support the uptake of apprenticeships as part of its Helping Britain Prosper commitments.
SMEs in the West Midlands will be able to access funds to support apprentices across a number of skill sectors including technology, digital and manufacturing as part of a three-year commitment formed in conjunction with West Midlands Combined Authority and the Advanced Manufacturing and Training Centre in Coventry.
The move is part of the Group’s interest in supporting SMEs in driving forward productivity and recognising acute skill shortages experienced by a significant number of Midlands based businesses and increasing competition for specialist skills.
The funding supports apprenticeship programmes from Level 3 through to Level 7 in STEM and Digital subjects and can be used for new hires as well as upskilling existing employees.
Ian Browne from Lloyds Banking Group is responsible for the scheme. Since launching in April 2019, the Group has already committed in excess of £1m, supporting over 70 apprentices employed by 45 individual companies. Around 50% of the apprentices are developing digital skills, recognising the productivity benefits this can bring to businesses. Around 30% of demand so far relates to skills in engineering and construction.
"Fewer than 49% of SMEs in the West Midlands have all five of the basic digital skills, the lowest of any region in the UK. Increasing these skills offers a UK productivity dividend of £85bn through efficiency gains, optimised trading and access to new markets. Apprenticeships provide a great way through “earning while learning” for an SME to invest in those critical skills. With the cost of apprenticeships ranging upwards of £10,000 the additional financial support is designed to help make apprenticeships more accessible to smaller businesses."
Apprenticeships are for all ages and as people are expected to be staying in work for longer, apprenticeships can be used as part of an SME’s workforce planning to upskill and retrain existing employees or to look at transferrable qualities that can be enhanced through structured apprenticeship training.
“our purpose is to help Britain prosper, our success is interwoven with the UK’s prosperity and helping SMEs to invest in skills in this way helps to build resilience, allow businesses to build, expand and create great and rewarding employment opportunities in the West Midlands”.
Thinking of accessing the Apprenticeship fund? More information on the West Midlands Combined Authority fund can be found by clicking the link below
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