Close Brothers, a merchant banking group, and EEF have announced a partnership to fund and train 20 apprentices for SMEs in the West Midlands. This partnership will help these companies tackle the issues of cost and red tape so they can take on an apprentice and invest in a new generation of skilled workers. The scheme will fund 1/2 the salary of an apprentice in year one and 1/4 in year two for each company.
The apprentices will be trained at EEF’s state-of-the-art Technology Training Centre in Aston, near Birmingham, which is at the forefront of new manufacturing and engineering technologies. Here they will learn both traditional and the most cutting-edge techniques that will fully equip them for a sustainable and exciting career in modern industry.
Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, says, "Three quarters of UK manufacturers have struggled to recruit skilled workers in the last three years. The skills crunch affecting our sector is critical and is forcing firms to contend with issues over both the quantity and quality of skills available to them. This innovation scheme, therefore, ticks two big boxes. It is not only helping SMEs to find and fund a talented apprentice to help their business grow, but it is also helping to inject fresh blood into our sector’s skills pool."
The Technology Training Centre, opened in 2014, is currently undergoing an expansion project representing £5 million for a second site to increase the number of apprentices trained at the centre from 250 to over 400 a year.
Stephen Hodges, Chief Executive of Close Brothers Banking Division, commented, "I am delighted to announce the launch of phase two of our SME Apprenticeship Programme. Our partnership with EEF allows us to deliver another year of excellent results where the chosen young people will benefit from the highest standards of manufacturing training. In turn, our new twenty SMEs can welcome fully-equipped apprentices into their business without the need to take on the financial burden of providing them with the necessary skills."