Massive boost for Hartlepool’s future apprentices

Christopher Akers-Belcher. Picture by FRANK REID

Christopher Akers-Belcher. Picture by FRANK REID

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Up to 700 apprenticeships could be created in the Tees Valley thanks to a vital source of funding.

The area’s Combined Authority has become one of only five across the country to win devolved funding to deliver a grant scheme.

It will create more quality apprenticeships for our young people and provide employment and learning opportunities that will stand Tees Valley in good stead for the future

Christopher Akers-Belcher

The new source of finance is designed to help small businesses to recruit young apprentices.

The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers 16-24 (AGE) scheme provides funding of up to £3,500 for small businesses to employ people aged from 16 to 24. It has potential of creating up to 700 apprentices.

The scheme is available only to those working to approved apprenticeship ‘Frameworks’ and is designed for businesses which would otherwise not have been in a position to employ an apprentice.

The Combined Authority will manage the assessment of applications as well as processing the payments.

Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, who is the Lead Member for Skills for the Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “The devolving of the AGE grant to the Combined Authority will create significant opportunities for our smaller employers, in that we can be more flexible with the eligibility and features of a local scheme to make it available to as many Tees Valley businesses as possible.

“It will create more quality apprenticeships for our young people and provide employment and learning opportunities that will stand Tees Valley in good stead for the future.”

Full details of the AGE grant and the qualifying criteria are available at www.teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/age or by calling (01642) 524412