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Council funding paves the way for care companies’ investment in apprenticeships

More than half a million pounds has so far been invested in employment training in Hampshire in the first half of 2020, under a Hampshire County Council scheme that aims to create more apprenticeship opportunities in the county – with care homes by far the biggest beneficiary.

The funding forms part of a £900,000 transfer from the County Council’s Apprenticeship Levy made available to help fund new apprenticeships until 31 March 2021. Of the 120 transfers approved by the end of June, 91 went to applicants in the care sector. Priority has also been given to small and medium enterprises, public bodies such as local councils, the emergency services and construction companies.

Councillor Keith Mans, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “I am very pleased to see the excellent take-up of this offer which benefits both employers and their workforce by helping them to ensure they have the right skills for continued and future productivity.

“In particular, the enthusiasm with which the care companies have made the most of the scheme is great news for care workers and residents in Hampshire, as without this assistance, some companies would not be in any position to offer an apprenticeship. One lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a new appreciation of good-quality care, and investment in these apprenticeships will build on the delivery of high-quality care throughout the county.”

Theresa Maple, Director of Operations at Fareport Training, said: “The levy transfer has created a tremendous opportunity for us as a business. Since the introduction of employer contributions, we had an immediate drop in the number of apprenticeship starts across the care sector, which in turn had an impact on the business - even small contributions for care settings can be an expense most won’t commit to. Being able to offer a few of our long-term partners the opportunity for full funding has been very well received, with far more applications than anticipated.”

Employers seeking a share of the County Council’s transferred levy fund are encouraged to prioritise the offer of an apprenticeship to those who are vulnerable, such as young people who are not in education or training, the long-term unemployed, care leavers and people with special educational needs and disabilities.

To qualify, employers must ensure apprentices are a Hampshire resident or working in the county. Email apprenticeships@hants.gov.uk to find out more and apply for a Levy Transfer.

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