A Salford housing association has signed up to a city-wide partnership that will help fund apprenticeships for local people.
The Salford Skills for Business Apprenticeship Fund is believed to be the first partnership of its kind, taking in organisations from across the public, private and third sectors, which gifts on a city-wide basis.
Salix Homes has joined the partnership with the city council, which also takes in Salford City College, the University of Salford, Bupa, and construction firm, Seddon.
Between them, the partnership will be gifting up to £250,000 of apprenticeship training funding to small and medium sized businesses in Salford. The fund is expected to grow as more organisations confirm funding in the weeks and months ahead.
The new fund comes after the council’s Workforce Panel unanimously approved an Apprenticeship Strategy in January to boost talent in its organisation and in the city. The council says this forms part of its wider commitment to developing employment and skills for residents, as well as raising employment standards.
“The approval of the Apprenticeship Strategy and launch of the fund demonstrates our commitment to apprenticeships,” said Councillor John Ferguson, the city council’s lead member for workforce and industrial relations.
“Working in partnership with a number of Salford organisations we’re investing in apprenticeship training to create more quality and sustainable apprenticeship opportunities across the City. This is something we are passionate about, providing opportunities for people of all ages to learn, unlock their true potential and use their skills to benefit the people of Salford.”
The fund will also help existing employers to close skills gaps in key sectors such as health and social care, digital, manufacturing and construction, hospitality, business and professional services.
Thanks to the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and associated reforms, organisations can now gift up to 25% of its training levy to an unlimited number of employers.
The partnership has also secured a further £114,000 Greater Manchester Combined Authority funding to support a proportion of apprentices’ salary costs.
The aim of the fund is to attract, develop and retain the best possible talent in the city by creating opportunities for people of all ages, to undertake relevant qualifications, helping to raise skills, capabilities and aspirations.
“We’re proud to support the Salford Skills for Business Apprenticeship Fund,” said David Hynam, Bupa UK’s chief executive. “As an organisation with a significant presence in Greater Manchester, we’re committed to providing high quality training opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds in the local community. More than 5% of our UK workforce are in roles where they earn salaries while undertaking on-the-job training and we hope this fund will help other businesses to follow our lead.”
Councillor Ferguson added: “We will work with businesses to make sure apprenticeship opportunities are of decent quality, are sustainable and benefit Salford residents that face particular challenges. Apprentices will be able to learn and grow while on the job in a coordinated, strategic approach to meet the ever-changing needs of our city.”