From education to employment

BCoT welcomes government boost for apprenticeships

Basingstoke College of Technology (@bcot) has welcomed the Government’s pledge of new funding to help more small businesses take on apprentices.

BCoT is one of the largest providers of apprenticeships in Hampshire, working with both large and small employers across industry sectors such as construction, early years, health and social care, engineering and hairdressing. Over the past seven years, more than 1,700 apprentices have entered the workforce gaining valuable experience and new skills through programmes at BCoT.

The government has said from the beginning of April, it will fully fund apprentices in small businesses, by paying the full cost of training for anyone up to the age of 21. The aim is to reduce costs and burdens for businesses and create more opportunities for young people to kick start their careers. It will also help save time and cost for further education colleges like BCoT who currently need to source funding separately from the government and businesses.  

Judi Hobson, Head of Apprenticeships, said:

“The growth and success of any business depends on its workforce. Apprenticeship programmes are a proven way for businesses to develop employees with the right skills for their organisations, so this a really exciting opportunity that’s going to open up so many more opportunities for young people to become apprentices. 

“The new funds will widen the choice for students and increase the number of employers, especially smaller businesses, that might be willing to support a young person taking their first steps on their career path. It will incentivise them and allow them to widen the search for the people that will best fit their workplace.

“Without this funding smaller businesses may not have been able to afford to take on an apprentice as well as pay them for the off the job training that they’re committed to as part of the funding rules. It creates more opportunities in industries such as care and early years to take on older apprentices without a financial penalty.”

The government has also said it will increase the amount of funding that employers who are paying the apprenticeship levy can pass onto other businesses. Apprenticeships can currently be funded by a levy paying employer transferring up to 25% of their unused levy to a different employer. 

Under the new measures, large employers who pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to transfer up to 50% of their funds to support other businesses, including smaller firms, to take on apprentices. This will help SMEs hire more apprentices by reducing costs and enabling more employers to get the skilled workers they need while unlocking more opportunities for young people in a huge range of sectors, industries, and professions. 

Anthony Bravo OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of BCoT, added that the support for apprentices will increase awareness about what apprenticeships are and who they are for.

“There is a misconception that apprenticeships are just for school leavers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re for anyone, whether it’s a 16-year-old leaving school, a person who is mid-career wanting to upskill or a retiree who is looking for a new challenge. This funding is good news for students and businesses in the local Basingstoke area and beyond.”

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