A new initiative to recruit and train more South Yorkshire apprentices has been officially launched by regional civic and business leaders this week.
The South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub will help small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) access the technical talent to address skill shortages and hard-to-fill vacancies.
The initiative is being funded by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) and the South Yorkshire Colleges Partnership.
Based at SYMCA’s office on Broad Street in Sheffield, the hub will raise awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships. The hub will also provide impartial guidance and connect employers with the best training provider for their needs, with the aim of recruiting and training at least 300 apprentices.
Andrew Hartley, Deputy Chief Executive, The Sheffield College, the project lead on behalf of the South Yorkshire Colleges Partnership and the South Yorkshire Providers Network, said:
“Small to medium sized organisations comprise the majority of employers in our regional economy, creating vital jobs which support our communities.
“This new scheme aims to inspire more South Yorkshire-based SMEs to benefit from apprenticeships by training new talent to meet their skills needs, improving productivity and developing their workforce for the future.”
South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard said:
“South Yorkshire doesn’t just need a bigger economy, we need a better economy. But if we’re going to get there, and if everyone is going to be able to access the jobs and opportunities that the new economy will bring, we need to make sure people have the right educational skills, so they can access opportunity wherever it might be.
“That’s what our new Apprenticeship Hub is all about; offering people, organisations and businesses a ‘one-stop shop’ for all the information and support they need to get the right skills, in the right place, so we can all benefit from more jobs, grow.”
Approximately 100 employers attended the hub launch at AESSEAL New York Stadium in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, on 5th December 2023.
Speakers included Fliss Miller, Director of Skills at SYMCA; Dan Fell, Chief Executive Officer of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce; Jack Kidder, Responsible Business Manager, Henry Boot; and Keith Richardson, Manager of the South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub.
Apprenticeship training will be delivered through South Yorkshire’s colleges and the region’s universities and independent training providers.
A new apprenticeship levy matchmaking service was also unveiled at the launch. The service will enable larger employers to donate part of their unspent apprenticeship levy to support SMEs in funding their apprentices.
The apprenticeship levy is paid by large employers with a pay bill of more than £3 million. It is set at a rate of 0.5% of their total annual pay bill.
Large employers can access their levy funds to pay for apprenticeship training. Their contributions can also fund apprenticeship training for smaller employers who pay 5% of the cost of apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships not only benefit employers but enable young people and adults to earn as they learn on-the-job skills, study a qualification, and start and progress in a career.
At the hub launch local employers Es Paradis, Nikken World, SCCCC and Yorkshire Advice Bureau, and their apprentices, discussed the benefits of apprenticeships during a panel session.
The employers who attended also included ASK4, Barnsley Council, Haith Engineering, Henry Boot, Mears Group, Rotherham Metropolitan Council, Rotherham United, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, South Yorkshire Community Foundation, Sheffield Forgemasters, Sheffield Hallam University, Sign Express, The Templand Group and Yorkshire Builders Federation.
To find out how your business could benefit from apprenticeships, visit the South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub website.
Pictured: Business and education leaders at the launch of the South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub.
(From left to right: Jack Kidder, Responsible Business Manager, Henry Boot, Fliss Miller, Director of Skills at SYMCA; Keith Richardson, Manager of the South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub; Andrew Hartley, Deputy Chief Executive, The Sheffield College, and Dan Fell, Chief Executive Officer of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce)
Photo credit: Joe Horner.