Apprenticeships New Anglia Project Launches Across Norfolk and Suffolk
Moore Networking Limited, a small Norfolk based company with decades of experience working in skills management, has been awarded a £1m grant in the latest round of European Social Funding in Norfolk and Suffolk. Apprenticeships New Anglia will support small and medium sized employers in Norfolk and Suffolk to recruit new apprentices when they leave education. Sally Moore, Director of Moore Networking Limited said “As a small employer, we have been frustrated at how hard it has become to get all the required elements of an Apprenticeship to line up since the changes that were introduced in 2017. As we understand the value and importance of quality apprenticeships, we decided to do something positive locally to improve this. We are of course delighted that the European Social Fund has seen fit to award us this grant.
Project Partners, the Seckford Foundation, TrAC and the Kier Group have already committed to working with us to deliver the project outcomes and we are keen to hear from other businesses or organisations who would be interested in joining the partnership as we move forwards.
The Seckford Foundation is a charity based in Woodbridge, Suffolk who are committed to empowering Suffolk’s young people embarking on their journeys into the world beyond education. The Foundation manages a successful mentoring programme for young people alongside their Springboard Apprenticeship initiative.
TrAC, a local Apprenticeship Training Agency, already works closely with Moore Networking to provide risk free Apprenticeship solutions for small and medium sized businesses across East Anglia and the South East. TrAC employs the apprentice on behalf of the businesses and then places them with an employer for an agreed period. TrAC supports the apprentice and the host employer for the duration of the placement and is on hand if something unexpected should happen. Apprenticeships New Anglia will provide seamless support for smaller employers from recruitment to completion of the apprenticeship, ensuring that the business can access the funding, training and resources they need for success.
A new web portal www.apprenticeshipsnewanglia.co.uk is now available so that all employers can go online, request or share funding and plan their current and future Apprenticeship requirements.
To support this, the project is currently recruiting eight apprentice business mentors who will work with employers across the two counties to help them to register, plan and recruit in a way that best suits them.
To complement the support provided to businesses, the project will also recruit another eight apprentice mentors who will work across schools, colleges and sixth forms in Norfolk and Suffolk to identify those young people seeking to become an apprentice when they leave education. They will integrate with mentoring and support services already provided in schools and support these young people to build the confidence that they need to transition seamlessly into an Apprenticeship. Apprenticeships New Anglia will make conditional offers of Apprenticeship employment to young people at the same time as colleges and sixth forms make course offers so young people can be confident that choosing the apprenticeship route will not disadvantage them.
The 16 new mentors will be apprentices themselves and will have first-hand experience of Apprenticeships so that they are able to offer the very best advice and support to the businesses and individuals that they support, backed up by Apprenticeship expertise from the experienced management team.
Graham Watson, Director, from the Seckford Foundation said “this is an innovative and much needed project that looks set to greatly increase apprenticeship opportunities in the county as well as helping young people understand how to access them and how advantageous apprenticeships can be as a way of gaining further qualifications. This project will build on our existing work to support employers and young people into sustainable working relationships in rural Suffolk.”
Kevin Bennett, People Services Manager UK at BAM Nuttall and TrAC board member highlighted that “projects such as this are needed to ensure that Apprenticeships remain a viable option for young people leaving education.” He explained that the apprentice style recruitment approach being taken by the project to recruit the apprentice mentors will ensure that the project staff have the enthusiasm, drive and energy required to turn the Apprenticeship recruitment market around.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It is great to see this level of dedicated support for SMEs wanting to take on apprentices.
“Our Youth Pledge – to ensure all 16 to 24-year-olds have support to access work, training or an apprenticeship – is essential to make sure young people have the opportunities they deserve and that businesses have the skilled staff they need. Projects like Apprenticeships New Anglia play an important role in helping us deliver our pledge to our region’s young people.”