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The Corporation

Posted: 21/10/09

College secures Government cash for apprenticeships

West Nottinghamshire College has secured around £600,000 to help employers deliver apprenticeships for more than 2,500 young people, it was announced today.

The college is one of 12 organisations to receive a share of £7million of Government funding to set up opportunities for apprentices and businesses in their areas.

Recipients will use the cash to set up an Apprenticeship Training Association (ATA) or a Group Training Association (GTA).

The initiatives will help a range of organisations, especially small businesses, to offer 14,000 apprenticeship places for young people over the next three years, with a focus on opportunities for 16-18-year-olds.

Apprenticeships will be offered in industries vital for the country’s economic growth, including environmental, creative, engineering, manufacturing, logistics and business administration.

Apprenticeships Minister Kevin Brennan said: “We want to give small and medium-sized firms the extra support and resources they need to take on more apprentices.

“These innovative models mean small businesses, who may not previously have felt able to offer apprenticeships, can now get on board and back young Britain. Today’s announcement means greater flexibility for small businesses and greater security for apprentices.

“Apprenticeships are a key route to building the nation’s skills and as we rebuild growth, it’s really important that we continue to invest in people and their skills, especially in industries key to our future economic success.”

ATAs are companies or partnerships acting as a recruitment agency, placing apprentices with 'host' employers.

For small businesses which might not have the capacity to provide their own training, a GTA helps them to share expertise with other employers and develop their own dedicated training.

West Nottinghamshire College will work with some of the country’s largest passenger transport manufacturers and providers, alongside SMEs, to provide long-term placements for 2,550 engineering and transport maintenance apprentices in passenger transport and logistics.

Apprenticeships will span a range of qualifications, from entry level to professional engineering, with the college delivering engineering apprenticeships in locomotive engineering and rail manufacturing, along with bus and coach maintenance apprenticeships.

Graham Howe, director of employer engagement at West Nottinghamshire College, said: “This funding will enable us to significantly increase apprenticeships for young people not just locally, but across the country.

“We made a very strong bid despite tough competition, which has resulted in us being awarded the largest contract nationally.

“The college is already one of the most successful providers of apprenticeships in the East Midlands so we’re keen to build on this and create even more employment and training opportunities for 16 to 18-year-olds.

“And by investing in apprenticeships, businesses will ensure they remain competitive in the current economic climate and are ready for the up-turn.”

Minister for the East Midlands Phil Hope said: “As we prepare for the economic upturn in the East Midlands, it is essential that we continue to invest in the region’s young people.

“The Government is committed to significant growth in apprenticeships for young people. In order to fulfil this commitment, we need to increase the numbers of employers offering them.

“This programme in Nottinghamshire will offer excellent opportunities for hundreds of young people in the area to gain the skills and experience they will need to forge successful careers.”

Karen Woodward, National Apprenticeship Service regional director for the East Midlands, said: “The National Apprenticeship Service is dedicated to adopting innovative approaches as we increase our employer engagement across the East Midlands.

“Apprenticeships are the optimal way of training, developing and skilling people for the future.

“This new model, delivered by West Nottinghamshire College, will play a vital part in ensuring high quality, flexible provision can be delivered to support apprentices in all types of business.”

The nine ATAs and three GTAs will provide over 3,000 apprenticeship starts this academic year, with 625 being created by West Nottinghamshire College. The apprenticeship places offered by these new associations will make a significant contribution to the Government's target of 250,000 people starting an apprenticeship this year and its overall ambitions on apprenticeship numbers over the next three years.