Businesses in Malvern Hills District and Wychavon are actively looking to take on more staff and are increasingly turning towards apprenticeships as a way of filling vacancies.
The findings are part of the Malvern Hills and Wychavon Upskilling Project business survey, which was aiming to establish the skills and training needs of local employers.
In total, 665 companies across the two districts filled in the survey, with just over 40% saying they were currently looking to recruit or train staff or change or expand their business.
An overwhelming 82% of businesses agreed an apprentice would help fill their recruitment/training needs in the next 24 months.
The responses also showed that 53% of businesses believe they currently having a skills shortage, while 31.9% have at least one vacancy to fill.
To help address these concerns, both councils are investing more than £283,000 from the Government's UK Community Renewal Fund in skills, training and employment opportunities.
Businesses can receive an Upskilling Grant of up to £2,000 towards the cost of taking on a new apprentice or trainee.
Businesses in any sector can apply for up to two upskilling grants, as long as the trainees started after 1 April 2021 and before 31 March 2022.
Payments of £500 are on offer to anyone starting an apprenticeship or training course to help encourage people to consider on-the-job training as a route into work.
Support payments of up to £1,000 are also available to help apprentices and trainees cover the cost of travel, equipment, clothing and other associated expenses.
Cllr Richard Morris, Executive Board Member for Economic Growth and Tourism on Wychavon District Council, said: "We know how tough the last couple of years have been for businesses and we're excited to see how many are now looking to expand, which is great news for the area. The Upskilling Project is all about supporting their ambitions."
Cllr Daniel Walton, Executive Board Member for Economic Development and Tourism on Malvern Hills District Council, said: "We want to see as many people as possible receive the right training and experience to boost their skills. As well as improving their opportunities and career prospects, they can help our local businesses to flourish."
For more information about the support available, including full terms and conditions, please visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/business or www.malvernhills.gov.uk/skills.
The Malvern Hills and Wychavon Upskilling Project has received £283,050 from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.
The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment.
For more information, visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus