Tees Valley Mayor announces £1million to create 100 new apprenticeships as part of Covid recovery plans

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Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has pledged almost £1million to create more than 100 new apprenticeships.

Mayor Houchen says the funding aims to reverse a dramatic decline in the creation of apprenticeships and encourage businesses in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic to employ 16-20-year-olds across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

A recent survey for the Tees Valley Combined Authority found 69% of business who responded had furloughed apprentices and more than a third said they could no longer commit to employing an apprentice.

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The newly-announced funding will meet all of the apprentices’ wages in their first six months of employment, and 50% for the remainder of the apprenticeship, up to a maximum of two years.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.

Mayor Houchen said: “The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for businesses and local workers.

“As part of my plan for jobs, we need to make sure that our young people who are part way through an apprenticeship can continue with the qualifications, which will help them for the rest of their lives.

“Unfortunately, many businesses are now reluctant to commit to offering apprenticeships to young people because of the uncertainty they are currently experiencing and as part of my plan to create local jobs for local people, I’m going to change this.

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“By offering almost £1million and funding the salaries of more than 100 apprenticeships, we can make sure that our talented young people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are getting the good high skilled, good quality jobs they deserve and are starting off on the road to a successful career.

Businesses who sign up to the scheme will also be asked to pay the national minimum wage, rather than the national apprenticeship wage, where applicable, and the apprentices will also be employed for a minimum of 30 hours a week.

“This has been a difficult time for everybody, but we need to make sure our young people in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are equipped to fill the skills gap which many businesses are crying out for,” added the mayor.

Businesses looking to register an interest in the new funding can do so by visiting www.teesvalley-ca.gov.uk/skills-employment/skills/apprenticeships

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