Wednesday, April 1, 2015

News: Region offered £2.41m apprenticeship grant deal


As part of its Growth Deal with central Government, the Sheffield City Region (SCR) is set to take control over £2.41m of funding used to boost the number of apprentices in the region.

In December, the SCR asked to take control of its share of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE), the £1,500 available to employers taking on apprentices, so that it can decide to vary the level of financial support available to different types of learner, sizes of business and subject.

Since then, partners have been working with Government departments on the detail of the devolution deal, including the devolution of AGE. The £85m national system could not flex to run a different model for either Manchester or Sheffield City Regions and the decision was made to formerly seek full financial devolution of the region's share of funds. The preferred mechanism to administer these funds being through the established Skills Made Easy programme.

The crossover of city regions has also meant that the Government has not been able to agree to devolve funding for the East Midlands districts even though the Sheffield City Region covers Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales and North East Derbyshire.

Instead, the Government has offered £2.41m for 2015-16 based on the level of activity expected in the four South Yorkshire areas based on data for previous years.

Administering the fund in the city region, priority is expected to be given to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related apprenticeships, underdeveloped areas where there is potential apprenticeship growth and disadvantaged learners undertaking an apprenticeship.

SCR's devolution deal documents explained: "This devolution of the AGE reflects the key role that local authorities and business leaders can play in identifying the businesses with potential to take up apprenticeships for the first time, and in aggregating local demand for apprentices especially among small businesses.

"AGE grant will both allow SCR to incentivise and flex skills programmes as well as bolstering local brokerage and business development infrastructure that has been so successful in realising latent employer demand for training."

The region's growth plan estimates that investing in skills capital could support 1,400 apprenticeships places between 2015 and 2017.

Sheffield City Region website

Images: Sheffield City Region LEP


Anonymous,  April 1, 2015 at 10:03 AM  

A misleading headline, no new money here just a reworking of how existing grants are paid. Plus during an election period?

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