IN week 11 of the North Devon Apprenticeship Campaign we look to the future.
While there has been some uncertainty about how apprenticeships will continue, the 2014 Budget demonstrated a strong Government commitment to extending the scheme.
The Government has announced it is committing £20 million to develop more challenging postgraduate apprenticeships in subjects such as engineering, accounting and technology.
North Devon employers and training providers are already playing their part in helping to shape future apprenticeships and introduce more advanced programmes. Actavis is playing an active role as a Trailblazer, while Petroc is among the first in the country to offer a new advanced retail apprenticeship.
The Government will also provide a further £170 million in grants for small businesses wanting to take on 16- to 24-year-old employees to support 100,000 more apprentices over the next two years.
The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme enables employers who have not taken on an apprentice over the past year to receive a £1,500 grant for each of up to 10 apprentices taken on aged 16 to 24.
Provisional statistics show 49,300 apprenticeship starts between February 2012 and October 2013 for which an AGE payment was made, with some 15,800 in the pipeline.
And £85 million of funding in 2014-15 and £85 million in 2015-16 will be distributed through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education to fund the 100,000 new grants.