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Apprentices to the rescue for animal charity

A Malvern based animal rescue charity has turned to apprenticeships to help continue its vital work.

Worcestershire Animal Rescue Shelter has hired two apprentices for the first time, thanks to support from Malvern Hills District Council.

The charity - which provides shelter, medical treatment and care to abandoned and unwanted cats and dogs - has limited funds and relies heavily on volunteers and a small team of staff.

The organisation was looking for a cost-effective way of recruiting and training staff and decided going down the apprenticeship route would be worth exploring. They successfully applied for a grant of £1,000 from the council’s Malvern Hills Apprenticeship Grant and a further £1,500 from the national AGE to help pay for training and salary costs.

As a result volunteer Carolina Formaggio, 20 from Worcester who was looking for a job, became the charity’s first apprentice and encouraged by her success, a second post was created which was filled by 19-year-old Joel Guiver-Dewar from Malvern.

A keen animal lover, Joel said he was attracted to the idea of an apprenticeship as he was concerned about being saddled with university debt and this would allow him to work and study for a Level 2 in animal welfare with Warwickshire College Group.

Claire Treguna, Worcestershire Animal Rescue Shelter Manager, said: “There’s a lot more to animal welfare than just liking animals. You have to take your duty of care seriously, and whilst rewarding it can also be physically and mentally difficult. Both Carolina and Joel had the right work ethic and aptitude that we look for, and hiring apprentices has been really cost-effective for us.

“You do need to put the time into their training, but this allows us to train them to our standards. With the grant from the council and the national AGE grant we were able to claim £2,500 towards training and salary costs. This made the difference for us in being able to pay Joel’s training costs, now that employers have to make a contribution.”

The Malvern Hills Apprenticeship Grant, supports small businesses in key sectors who are recruiting apprentices for the first time in 12 months. The £1,000 grant can be put towards training and/or salary costs and can be claimed in conjunction with national grants.

Cllr David Chambers, Leader of the Council and responsible for economic development on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “We’re committed to helping our young people develop their skills and apprenticeships are an important part of that. With employers now being asked to contribute ten per cent of apprenticeship training costs, I’d urge all businesses to look at the grants available to them both locally and nationally.”

For more information on apprenticeships, the new Apprenticeship Levy on businesses and funding available visit http://worcsapprenticeships.org.uk/national-apprenticeship-week/.or call 0300 666 3 666.