New funding to help tackle skills shortage

New funding and support is on offer to businesses and those entering the job market as part of a scheme launched by Malvern Hills District Council.

The Future Workforce Programme pulls together the council's activity around skills and training to make it easier for people and companies to find the help they need to meet their ambitions.

As part of the scheme, a new Upskilling Grant has been created offering businesses up to £1,000 a year from the council to support the training of staff. Unlike previous grant schemes, this doesn't just have to be spent on apprentices but can be used for graduate placements and other types of traineeship.

The money is on top of any other funding available from the Government.

The council has also created a bursary scheme offering money to apprentices and trainees to help them with travel and other costs, after research found this could be a barrier to people taking up on the job training.

A new dedicated skills section of the council's website has also been created bringing a wide range of information into one place so businesses can find the help they need to grow their own workforce and fill skills gaps.

It also provides clear information to anyone considering an apprenticeship or other on the job training and advice for parents and guardians so they can give informed advice to their child. A survey the council carried out of school pupils found 15% of those questioned would not even consider an apprenticeship because of the views of their parents.

Cllr Daniel Walton, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development on Malvern Hills District Council, said: "With many sectors facing skills shortages at the moment, training people on the job to fill those gaps has to be seen as a major part of the solution.

"The Future Workforce Programme is about helping businesses understand the opportunities available to them by taking on apprentices, and other forms of training, as well as the financial support on offer to help them do that.

"We also want to challenge the myths that still persist around apprenticeships and on the job training. Going to university isn't the only way people can succeed and shouldn't be a default choice.

"Apprenticeships offer a debt free route to a qualification, including at degree level, and we want young people to be aware of that so they can make an informed choice about their future."

Visit www.malvernhills.gov.uk/skills to find out more about the programme or apply for the new funding.

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