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Businesses Gear Up for Funding of up to £15,000 when they Recruit an Apprentice

Businesses Gear Up for Funding of up to £15,000 when they Recruit an Apprentice  
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Engineering and manufacturing businesses from across the North East gathered at an event at Northumberland College today to find out more about funding of up to £15,000 that is available when they recruit an apprentice.

Northumberland College joined forces with the county's development company, Arch, as well as Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and advanced manufacturing. The event aimed to help firms find out how they can apply for the funds.

Arch, a company set up by Northumberland County Council to help drive economic growth, has been awarded £11.75m from the Government's Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to provide financial support to engineering and manufacturing businesses and encourage the creation of new sustainable jobs and up-skilling of existing employees.

Research by Semta shows 8,500 skilled workers in the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering sector in the region are due to retire by 2016 while 25% of current employees need to be skilled up to deal with new technologies and processes.

Bill Twigg, Semta Apprenticeship Director, said: "Currently, 27% of engineering and advanced manufacturing companies take on apprentices in the North East. If we are to address the skills challenge, we need to get half of all firms in the sector running apprenticeships. It was encouraging to see so many businesses at this event, who we can support in many ways to ensure they have a highly skilled workforce ready to take advantage of the opportunities for growth."

Stuart Cutforth, Principal and Chief Executive of Northumberland College, said: "It's great that so many businesses attended today's event and I encourage others to get in touch to find out more about the funding and the services the college offers.

"We offer recruitment services and a wide range of Apprenticeships to hundreds of organisations and we are here to support the local business community, whether it be helping existing staff to develop higher level skills through an Apprenticeship qualification or whether it be training new staff."

Bob Huntington, Managing Director of Lynemouth Power Station was guest speaker at the event. He gave an employer's perspective on Apprenticeships and outlined the importance of investing in future skills.

Peter McIntyre, Managing Director at Arch, said: "We recognise the importance of the manufacturing and engineering sector in the North East and the Regional Growth Fund will support business owners in their recruitment of skilled apprentices."

Northumberland College, which recently received its best ever Ofsted result and is ranked in the top 10 per cent of colleges nationally, works with more than 700 businesses across the region and has a dedicated employer team so businesses wishing to find out more about Apprenticeship training and the RGF funding should contact the college on 01670 841 268 or training@northland.ac.uk