An innovative £1m employment scheme that aims to increase apprenticeships in the Humber region by matching SMEs and candidates with the most suitable training providers has gone live.
Intended to boost skills levels and productivity, the free Humber Apprenticeship Brokerage Service (HABS) is spearheaded by Humber LEP. The Skills Funding Agency has appointed YH Training Services to manage its delivery until July 2018.
It reduces the barriers SMEs face when employing apprentices and provides information and impartial guidance and support.
HABS is a single point of contact that connects employers with apprenticeship providing organisations and 19+ year old learners – both directly and indirectly through a network of referring employment and training agencies. Each employer meets a HABS representative to confirm their needs and learn about the funding and recruitment process and how to decide which apprenticeship provider is best for them.
The programme also makes life easier for unemployed or inactive candidates who are considering undertaking an apprenticeship. Explaining how it is a viable route to employment and career advancement, HABS gives prospective apprentices the information they need to make the right choices about their future.
Each candidate then receives a list of employers and apprenticeship providers from YH Training services or one of its sub-contractors and are referred to their choices, if suitable.
Funded by the European Social Investment Fund (ESIF) and Skills Funding Agency, HABS follows a successful Humber LEP pilot last year that saw 157 new jobs created in 12 months.
HABS project manager Martin Fitzgerald said: “Apprenticeships boost businesses by plugging their skills gaps and providing a ready supply of motivated, energetic workers eager to learn. For the apprentices, they offer a gateway into a world of work by gaining relevant qualifications, experience and confidence as they earn.
“HABS will demystify the process for both employers and candidates alike, brokering introductions and always offering straightforward, impartial advice.”
Chair of the Humber ESIF Sub-Committee and Humber LEP board member, Isobel Mills, said: “We are very pleased to be working with YH Training to deliver the new Humber Apprenticeship Growth Programme.
This is a key investment being made through the Humber ESIF programme, providing resources to improve the skills profile of local communities, assisting Humber resident to improve employment opportunities. This new programme will work directly with businesses to develop and grow new apprenticeships at all levels.
“It builds on the success of the Humber Apprenticeship Support Service pilot programme and we look forward to working closely with YH Training as the programme progresses.”