Published date 10 June 2021

Metro Mayor asks employers to support apprenticeships in the West of England

West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris is urging the region’s employers to help increase the number of apprenticeships in the region.

The West of England Combined Authority and Western Training Provider Network (WTPN) have launched Share to Support which aims to help smaller businesses recover through funding new apprenticeships.

The Metro Mayor is calling for apprentice levy-paying employers to give their unused apprenticeship levy funds to the Share to Support fund, administered by WTPN on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority. The funds can then be used to cover the cost of training apprenticeships in small businesses, including new recruits and existing employees. It is estimated that between £4m and £8m of unused levy funds are returned to the Treasury each year.

He said: "Let’s keep in local: cash for apprenticeship training should stay in the West of England. Thank you to the big businesses that have already signed up so that cash raised locally for training doesn’t end up back in treasury coffers. We are working together to share prosperity and opportunities for local people."

Alex Richards Director of the Western Training Provider Network said: "We are delighted that this initiative is up and running, we are experiencing real demand for it. It’s a great partnership between local Government, Business and Education that will make a difference. Keep training investment local, creating more career opportunities for our young people who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and supporting smaller employers to build back better through skills and Apprenticeship investment."

Several large employers have already pledged to the Share to Support fund, including, GKN Aerospace, Bath & North East Somerset Council and Bristol City Council.

Paul Ashbee, Technical Training Manager at GKN, said: "During these challenging times, GKN Aerospace is delighted to be able to offer its support to the community by being part of this important initiative."

Denise England, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Apprenticeship Coordinator, said: "Bath & North East Somerset Council are delighted to strengthen our support for the local community by being part of the Share to Support scheme."

The campaign is being delivered as part of the West of England Combined Authority's  Workforce for the Future Programme, co-funded by the European Social Fund.

Employers can pledge their unspent apprenticeship levy by visiting:

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