Firms urged to take on apprentices

Local companies are being offered the opportunity to develop and upskill their staff free of charge with support from Sandwell Council’s Apprenticeship Levy Fund.

Sandwell Council wants to support eligible local businesses to recruit new apprentices or upskill existing staff to increase the number of apprentices in Sandwell and boost the local economy.

They are being given the chance to take on apprentices under new rules on funding because apprenticeships are no longer limited to the former NVQ frameworks.

Now the apprenticeships standards are employer-led and industry specific to ensure that learners develop occupational competencies and demonstrate the knowledge and skills expected of someone in their job role.

The council is anxious to highlight the fact that apprenticeships are not necessarily for a new member of staff or school leavers. The learning can be undertaken by any employee of any age and can be a cost-effective means of upskilling and enhancing your team.

The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 saw employers with a wage bill of £3m-plus begin to make payments into a Levy ‘pot’ which is used to pay for apprenticeship training.

Funds not spent expire after a period of 24 months and are returned to Treasury. Councillor Danny Millard, Sandwell Council's cabinet member for skills and employment, said: “Sandwell Council has a great record on apprenticeships and is anxious to help local companies to train their staff. “Apprenticeships give staff a big boost and their training provides companies with better trained staff. “This move supports our Vision 2030 ambition to ensure that its workforce and young people are skilled and talented, geared up to respond to changing business needs and to win rewarding jobs in a growing economy.”

Further advice on the Apprenticeship Levy and eligibility criteria for businesses, receiving transferred Levy funds, the recruitment of new apprentices or which qualifications could be suitable for your staff can be obtained from Think Sandwell – the Employment and Skills team at Sandwell Council. For more information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0121 569 2099.

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