Corporate, General, HP, Stregthening our economy, Young people

Innovative apprenticeship scheme launched for smaller businesses

An innovative apprenticeship scheme that allows several firms to share the training of the next generation of their workforce has been launched by Surrey County Council.

The initiative is tailored to small and medium-sized building businesses that want to enjoy the benefits of hiring an apprentice but find it difficult to commit to long-term training.

Under the scheme named CoTrain, young people are able to complete their apprenticeship with a number of companies instead of staying with one employer throughout their training period.

It is open to building firms that have won construction contracts from the council or are working as sub-contractors for larger firms that have.

Last year the council incentivised businesses to hire 265 apprentices and aims to achieve a further 500 in a year as part of a drive to stimulate economic growth. It is also offering businesses a cash incentive to offer work experience.

Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Business Services, Denise Le Gal, said: “Smaller firms often don’t have the time or resources to take on a full-time apprentice but we’ve come up with a way that they can benefit from one as part of our drive to fill 500 places by next April.

“Our innovative scheme helps to give young people the leg up they need to find work at a tough time and provides building firms with the skilled workforce they require to continue to thrive.”

CoTrain will help the council find suitable apprentices in trades such as plastering, bricklaying, roofing and joinery and then place them with firms.

It is hoped that the scheme will create around 30 apprentice places in its first year and at its peak CoTrain will provide nearly 100 construction apprenticeships aimed at leading to permanent employment.

CoTrain has been established by the South East Centre for the Built Environment (SECBE), a not for profit organisation, with Surrey County Council, Hampshire County Council, Miller Construction and Osborne and is part-funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

For more information about CoTrain, please contact Derek Rees at apprenticeships@cotrain.org.uk or on 0118 920 7207.

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