Tuesday, April 21, 2015

News: AMRC help Close Brothers launch apprenticeship scheme

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Close Brothers Group plc, the leading merchant banking group, has launched a programme to help SMEs recruit and train a new generation of advanced engineering workers with the support of the AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham and the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA).

Under the scheme, Close Brothers will help pay for 20 apprentices to learn their skills at the AMRC Training Centre. Close Brothers will fund half of the new recruits' wages during the first year and a quarter in the second, meaning participating SMEs won't have to bear the full cost of employing the apprentices until they are making a positive contribution to their business. The first intake will be in September 2015.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, The AMRC Training Centre forms part of the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) group and provides training in the practical and academic skills that manufacturing companies need to compete globally, from apprenticeship through to doctorate and MBA level.

In what is a banking first, the programme will support a further 20 apprentices in year two and 20 more in year three, meaning Close Brothers will be supporting up to 60 apprentices in the scheme at full capacity.

Specialising in lending, wealth management services and securities trading, Close Brothers has been a long-term supporter of SMEs, doubling its lending to the sector since 2009. The scheme is open to all SMEs, not just those currently working with Close Brothers.

Close Brothers, the MTA and the AMRC Training Centre will offer further support for participating companies and there are plans to bring the SME apprentices and Close Brothers' own financial apprentices together for team building and other events.

Stephen Hodges, chief executive of Close Brothers Banking division, said: "We know from our work with SMEs that many would like to take on apprentices but they are worried about the cost, time, and resource involved. Britain's manufacturing companies urgently need to recruit and train a new generation of skilled engineering workers if they are to grow in an increasingly competitive global market: we hope our initiative will help more SMEs to do just that. We believe this pioneering scheme will provide genuine financial support to the SME sector."

James Selka, CEO of the MTA, a trade association for companies working in the engineering-based manufacturing sector, said: "Companies need highly skilled workforces to enable them to get the most out of the latest technology they need to deploy to stay ahead. This initiative offers smaller firms the chance to be at the forefront of securing those skills for their futures. They, no less than larger companies, need to increase side-by-side investments in technology and skills to be globally competitive and meet customer demands for versatility. This scheme will help them do just that."

Alison Bettac, director of training at the AMRC Training Centre, added: "We are really grateful to Close Brothers for creating this golden opportunity for smaller firms to put fears of the costs and the administrative burden of employing an apprentice to one side.

"In addition to getting a high-quality vocational education, shop floor skills and access to employment, apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre can also be taking the first step on a road that could lead to undergraduate and post graduate qualifications that could make them company leaders in the future."

AMRC Training website
Close Brothers website
MTA website

Images: AMRC Training

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