JTL and BEST to run schemes in building services sector

The government has put £11m of funding forward to create 3000 new apprenticeship places, with 600 of those targeted to go to the building services sector.

JTL is to support 400 Advanced Apprenticeships and BEST a further 200 places. The two training providers are among only 16 firms selected to manage the government initiative.

Selected employers will receive £30 per week for every extra apprentice they employ if they qualify for the Government financial initiative to step up training in the sector.

Known as the Apprenticeship Expansion Scheme, the initiative will be targeted toward employers who have an excellent proven track record in providing high quality apprentices and need support during the downturn to expand their numbers.

JTL chief executive Denis Hird said: “Initiatives like this are very timely and welcome. Everyone knows someone who is suffering in the present climate but if employers do not take a long-term view they will not have the skilled staff available to undertake future projects.”

The £30 subsidy will be paid for 12 months and payment is made to the employer by BACS upon receipt of the attendance record indicating that the apprentice has been present or authorised absent.

Mark Brenner, CEO of BEST, said: “The use of apprenticeships as part of a developing workforce has been shown to create overall labour savings of 10-15% on a typical m&e contract whilst providing the skills for future growth and in preparation for the upturn in the current economy.”

Despite the economic downturn, the government is concerned the UK still faces a major shortage of skills in the next decade if employers let up on their commitment to take on apprentices.

Skills secretary John Denham said: “The businesses we have signed agreements with will be able to train more apprentices, thanks to the £11 million of funding. In these tough times we are determined to do all we can to support business to prepare for the upturn and continue to invest in improving the skills of the nation’s workforce.”

The Government aims to ensure suitably qualified young people will have the right to an apprenticeship place and over the next ten years one in five young people will be able to start an apprenticeship with 400 000 apprentices on recognised programmes by 2020.