Employers in Norfolk and Suffolk are encouraged to offer more apprenticeships to school leavers following a £1 million European Social Fund grant. The Apprenticeships New Anglia project has been set up by Norwich-based skills management company Moore Networking Limited, who were awarded the grant, and will be delivered by local training partners including Seckford Springboard, TrAC and the Kier Group.
Apprenticeships New Anglia will provide support for small and medium-sized employers across the region to recruit talented youngsters who are leaving education aged 16-24. The project has been developed in response to a declining trend in apprenticeship uptake by young people locally, as well as a lack of suitable funding for non-levy paying businesses. The project also responds to the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Youth pledge to support more young people to access employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities.
Employers who join the Apprenticeships New Anglia project will be supported with the full apprenticeship process, from recruitment to completion of training, as well as advice on accessing relevant funding and resources.
The project itself will be run by 16 apprentice mentors, currently being recruited across Norfolk and Suffolk, who will work with businesses, schools, colleges and sixth forms to share their first-hand experience of apprenticeships to employers and individuals. The apprentice mentors will work alongside Moore Networking Limited, Seckford Springboard, TrAC and Kier Group.
Sally Moore, Director of Moore Networking Limited, said: “As a small employer, we have been frustrated at how hard it has become to get all the required elements of an apprenticeship to line up since changes to the apprenticeships system were introduced in 2017. As we understand the value and importance of quality apprenticeships, we decided to do something positive locally to improve this. We are of course delighted that the European Social Fund has seen fit to award us this grant.
“We are pleased that Seckford Springboard, TrAC and Kier Group have already committed to working with us to deliver the Apprenticeships New Anglia project and we are keen to hear from other businesses or organisations who would be interested in joining the partnership as we move forwards.”
Seckford Springboard, part of Woodbridge-based charity The Seckford Foundation, currently provides mentoring, grants and apprenticeship opportunities to young people across Suffolk, and particularly in rural areas.
Graham Watson, Director of The Seckford Foundation, said: “This is an innovative and much-needed project that looks set to greatly increase apprenticeship opportunities in the county as well as helping young people understand how to access them and how advantageous apprenticeships can be as a way of gaining further qualifications. This project will build on our existing work to support employers and young people into sustainable working relationships in rural Suffolk.”
TrAC, a not-for-profit apprenticeships training provider, will also be lending their experience to the project.
Kevin Bennett, People Services Manager UK at BAM Nuttall and TrAC board member, said: “Projects such as this are needed to ensure that apprenticeships remain a viable option for young people leaving education. The approach to recruiting new apprentice mentors to support the project will ensure all involved will have the enthusiasm, drive and energy required to turn the local apprenticeship recruitment market around.”
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “It is great to see this level of dedicated support for SMEs wanting to take on apprentices. Our Youth Pledge – to ensure all 16 to 24-year-olds have support to access work, training or an apprenticeship – is essential to make sure young people have the opportunities they deserve and that businesses have the skilled staff they need. Projects like Apprenticeships New Anglia play an important role in helping us deliver our pledge to our region’s young people.”
For more information on the Apprenticeships New Anglia project or for employers wanting to express interest, visit www.apprenticeshipsnewanglia.co.uk or call 01603 737739. To apply for the 16 new apprentice mentor vacancies which will support the delivery of the project, email firstname.lastname@example.org.