Don’t take skills for granted, take grants to close your skills gaps

Almost two thirds (60%) of UK employers feel the UK government does not do enough to support skills education, according to research completed for qualification provider City and Guilds in November.

A recent article by the BBC highlighted key findings from the survey, in particular the esteem employer’s hold vocational training in and the value they place in financial support moving forward.

Nearly three quarters (72%) said they viewed vocational qualifications as essential for preparing young people for work, whilst over half (53%) said they valued vocational qualifications in prospective employees above academic attainment.

Various widespread concerns about the lack of skilled workers available to employers echo throughout the findings, with vocational education seemingly key in closing emerging skills gaps. With government support at the forefront of discussions, the recent extension of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) continues to offer a fantastic opportunity to nationwide and local employers alike.

The AGE 16 to 24 Grant for Employers aims to support businesses recruiting individuals aged 16 to 24 onto the Apprenticeship programme. The National Apprenticeship Service will provide £1,500* to eligible employers. Employers can access this grant for up to ten Apprentices during the lifetime of the initiative.

In Cornwall alone the AGE grant has awarded over £900,000 in financial incentives, helping businesses take on over 600 Apprentices.

Jo Fielder of Furniture World, Redruth said “Without the AGE grant I couldn’t have taken on an Apprentice, the financial incentive really helped open the door to Apprenticeships for our business. Our new Apprentice has since made a real difference to our business and I’d definitely recommend the Apprenticeship programme to other local businesses.”