£2,000 grant for West Yorkshire and York businesses to recruit an apprentice

1 August 2018

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has today launched a new Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) to boost apprenticeships across its key priority sectors of manufacturing and engineering technologies, information and communication technology including digital and construction, planning and the built environment.

Businesses in West Yorkshire and York are set to benefit from this new grant to help recruit their first apprentice aged 19-24, launched today by the LEP. Companies with less than 50 employers based in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York can now apply for a grant of up to £2000.

The LEP, working in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority is driving plans to increase the number of apprenticeships for people of all ages, available across Leeds City Region - offering people the opportunities to succeed and accelerating economic growth.

This new programme is part of a wider package of support available to businesses in the region through the LEP Growth Service, a single point of contact for businesses in the region that want to grow.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: "As a region one of our key strengths is our young population and I am passionate about ensuring there are opportunities for all of them here. As such I'm delighted that the LEP in partnership with the Combined Authority has launched this new grant.

"This grant has been specifically developed to support 19-24 year olds, however it's important to remember that apprenticeships are available for all ages. They can provide fantastic opportunities to retrain, enter new industries and start new exciting careers."

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: "Businesses who employ an apprentice report many benefits, from training staff in the skills that the business needs to improved productivity and staff retention. The LEP has supported nearly 3000 businesses to recruit an apprentice through the last round of grant funding and I'm looking forward to supporting even more with the launch of this new grant.

"I encourage all businesses in West Yorkshire and York to get in touch and find out about this grant and the wide range of support available from the LEP and its wider network of partners."

Rashik Parmar, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership's Employment and Skills Panel, said: "Developing a skilled workforce underpins economic growth across Leeds City Region. Increasing the number of high quality apprenticeships available benefits businesses, individuals and the region as a whole."

"Done well, apprenticeships provide the younger generation with vital skills and a strong foundation on which to build their careers and on a regional level, it means we have the skills needed now and in the future."

James Davis, 20, from Wakefield, is one individual who benefitted from a LEP funded apprenticeship. His employer, Caltech IT Limited, based in Batley, received funding to support James through his Level 3 Software Development apprenticeship. He has since continued to pass his Level 4 apprenticeship and is now a full-time employee at the business.

James said: "When I left college, I had the choice of going to university or doing an apprenticeship but the chance to earn while I was training was a big incentive to go down the apprentice route."

"There's not a moment I've regretted my choice and I'd certainly recommend an apprenticeship to others. It has supported me to develop professionally while learning a skill and helped me to get a full-time job where every day is different and there is never a dull moment.

Catherine Carlyle, Caltech IT Limited General Manager, said: "We are impressed with the energy apprentices bring to Caltech as well as the way they gain experience, which they commit to us. Our apprentices have ensured we have skilled technicians for the future that we have trained up together with the college qualifications."

"We would have no reservations in encouraging other businesses to invest in apprenticeships as they have been invaluable to the future of our business."

The grant is on offer for businesses in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York to recruit their first apprentice, aged 19-24. To find out more about this grant and the wider support available for growing businesses call the LEP Business Growth Service on 0113 348 1818, email age@the-lep.com or visit www.the-lep.com/age.