From education to employment

Businesses prosper as funding scheme drives forward apprenticeships with CONEL

Employers are reaping the benefits of being able to offer more apprenticeships with the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) through a council-run funding scheme.

The Opportunity Investment Fund (OIF) is a £3.6 million business loan fund provided jointly by Haringey Council and the Mayor of London and has been running for two years.

The loans provide financial support to help new and existing business to the borough to generate jobs, improve work space or purchase machinery or production equipment.

A £100,000 loan enabled Redemption Brewing Company in Tottenham to move to much larger premises of nearly 10,000 square feet and take on two apprentices to meet increased demand for its craft beer.

Johanna Willard, 22, completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in Business and Administration and is now a permanent employee at the brewery, which began trading in 2010 and produces 15,000 pints of beer a week.

“Doing the apprenticeship was a great decision and CONEL has been fantastic,” she said.

“I initially thought that Apprenticeships were just for training for careers in manual labour, and it never occurred to me they would offer them in business administration.

“They were not on my radar at all until it was mentioned when I came for my interview here, and now it’s given me the opportunity to work full time.

“I think there is a lot of stigma attached to Apprenticeships, but I feel it’s unjustified – I’m a real advocate of Apprenticeships now.”

Andy Moffat, Managing Director of Redemption Brewing Company, said the loan was vital in helping the business to expand and apprenticeships are a great way for small businesses to provide training, which can often be costly and time consuming.

He said: “Jo has picked up things very quickly and been an asset to the business.

“Having someone capable doing the day to day work has allowed us to concentrate on other areas of the business, such as finance, marketing and more exporting.

“The fund came at a time when we were expanding and wanting to take on extra staff. We’ve been able to increase the size of our premises by 2,500 square feet, take on two apprentices and produce three times more beer a week.

 “Without the loan it would have been much more difficult to undertake that expansion.”

Nine OIF loans worth a total of £1.3million have been approved since the fund started in 2015.

A total of 235 full time jobs, 78 apprenticeships and 20 work experience placements have been made available through the scheme, which has also seen 77,919 square feet of floor space brought back into use.

Click here for more information on apprenticeships with the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).

Click here to find out more about the Opportunity Investment Fund (OIF).

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