Friday, 9 August 2013

Boris Johnson boosts apprenticeships drive with £1.5million fund for SMEs


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The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has allocated £1.5million to help small and medium-sized businesses (SME’s) in London to take on young apprentices in his continued campaign to boost employment opportunities in the capital. 
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The £1.5million fund means that SMEs can apply for a £3,000 incentive payment through the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). The London AGE 16 to 24 is available for London based SMEs with up to 1,000 employees, which are recruiting an apprentice aged 16 to 24.

The incentive was introduced on the 10th June 2013 is open until the 31 December 2013 (grants will be issued on a first come first served basis). Employers must employ an apprentice for a minimum of 12 months. Nationally, the incentive payment available to employers is £1,500. It’s been estimated that the fund could help to create a further 1,000 new jobs in London.

There are over 800,000 SMEs which combined generate a turnover of £430 billion. The Mayor believes the SME sector is crucial to the strength of London’s economy and especially important in ensuring that young Londoners find work and climb the career ladder.
In the most recent employment statistics, it was found that private sector employment is up by 6.5% in London, compared with 3.2% in the rest of the country.

The investment is part of a £111million pot secured by the Mayor from the Government's Growing Places fund to support the work of the London Enterprise Panel (LEP).  The LEP is investing the money in sectors they have prioritised as crucial for London’s growth. This includes support for:

  • Small and medium businesses
  • Infrastructure development
  • Raising skills and employment opportunities
  • Boosting growth in digital, science, technology and creative industries


There have been over 100,000 apprenticeships created in London since 2010 by the Mayor's campaign with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). In his ‘2020 Vision: Ambitions for London’ publication he sets an ambitious target of creating 250,000 by the end of 2016.

Boris Johnson, says that “Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the capital’s economy and central to providing employment opportunities for talented young Londoners. Companies that have already taken on apprentices know the difference they can make to the bottom line and so we want to encourage more firms to get on board. This incentive is aimed specifically at SMEs and I’m urging company bosses from all corners of the capital to check out how it can benefit them and the wider London economy.”

The Divisional Apprenticeship Director, Vic Grimes, stated that “Apprenticeships deliver for businesses, young people and the economy which is why we work extremely hard to help employers in the capital to expand their Apprenticeship offering. There has never been a better time to recruit an apprentice and we are delighted to welcome the additional incentive now available to SMEs in London.”

The Mayor’s Ambassador for Training and Enterprise, Tim Campbell stated that “The welcome news that the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers has been increased to £3000 for eligible SMEs is exactly what will encourage more firms to take on their first apprentice.” He added that “SME owners who have already taken on apprentices have seen the huge value that motivated, productive and loyal young people bring to their small businesses and I’d urge more to step forward and make use of the financial support that’s available to them.”  

The funding incentive for SMEs announcement came shortly after the Mayor launched a new travel scheme for apprentices, which allows anyone in the first year of an apprenticeship to get 30% off the adult rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram pass season tickets. The scheme is expected to benefit around 40,000 apprentices living and working in the capital and could save an apprentice up to £660 a year on the cost of an annual travel card. If you want to find out more about the discount, go to: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/27809.aspx


ApprenticeshipsIf you are interested in finding out more about employing apprentices and the benefits they can bring to business, complete the Apprenticeships.org form or call 08000 150 600. You can also find out more on the Enhanced London AGE 16 to 24 FAQ page.

Firebrand Apprentices

Firebrand offers a government-funded work-based IT training programme for 16-24-year-olds, that’s designed around company needs and results in recognised IT qualification for the apprentices. The courses last for a year, and during that time Firebrand takes apprentices away for five weeks of intensive training, which is backed-up with continual assessment while they’re at work. Firebrand assesses and recruits employees, and trains them on Microsoft and City & Guilds courses throughout the year-long course.

Why hire an apprentice?

Firebrand Apprentice
Firebrand Apprentices
With an apprenticeship course, often all you pay is the apprentice's wages – typically £150-200 a week and substantially less than a graduate starting salary. All the training costs are government-funded – saving businesses up to £15,000. 

You can find out more about Firebrand apprentices here: http://www.firebrandtraining.co.uk/apprenticeships

About the Author:
Julian writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Julian is the companies Digital Marketer.