South Yorkshire SMEs campaign launches for National Apprenticeship Week

6th February 2024

A campaign urging small to medium sized businesses to train new apprentice talent and fill skills shortages across South Yorkshire has got underway this week.

National Apprenticeship Week, running from 5th to 11th February 2024, showcases 
how apprenticeships work for employers, learners, communities and the economy. 

The newly established South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub is backing the national campaign.

During the week, it will be highlighting the support available to SMEs so they can address skill shortages and hard-to-fill vacancies.

The hub provides impartial guidance and connects employers with the best training provider for their needs. 

SMEs in Sheffield, as well as Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, are invited to find out more about the South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub and book an online consultation.

Based on Broad Street West, Sheffield, the hub is funded by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) and the South Yorkshire Colleges Partnership.

Keith Richardson, Manager, South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub, said: “Small to medium sized employers are the lifeblood of our economy. The South Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub provides free impartial advice that helps SMEs to develop their workforce and get the right skills for growth.”

The hub officially launched in December 2023 with a long term aim to recruit and train at least 300 apprentices. Its remit also includes raising awareness of apprenticeships amongst parents and carers and learners. 

Business chiefs are backing the campaign. Louisa Harrison-Walker, Chief Executive, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, added: “We are hugely supportive of this initiative that creates a one stop shop for employers and people looking to take up apprenticeships. 

“Our members tell us that creating a strong pipeline of skilled workers is incredibly important to the long term viability of their businesses. We know the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’ is a hugely attractive proposition and will help future proof the skills needed for our regional economy to prosper.”

Apprenticeships enable young people and adults to earn as they learn on-the-job skills, study a qualification, progress in a career and gain employment afterwards. 

Apprenticeships are available at different levels, including university level. The government contributes 95 of the training costs for SMEs.

New national data shows that apprenticeship starts were up by 7.0 for 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Under 19s accounted for 32.7 of starts, according to the Department for Education statistics published in January 2024. 

Meanwhile, advanced apprenticeships (equivalent to Level 3 vocational and A Level qualifications) accounted for 43.0 of starts whilst higher (university level) apprenticeships grew by 9.9 in 2023 and accounted for 35.3 of starts.

To find out more, visit https://www.southyorkshireapprenticeships.org/.

Pictured:  Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of sectors including dental technology.

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