Council launch apprentices incentive plan

Wigan Council's business team which is encouraging businesses to use available council grants to hire an apprentice

Wigan Council's business team which is encouraging businesses to use available council grants to hire an apprentice

Wigan Council has pledged to help local firms enlist a whole host of new apprentices in a novel Christmas countdown.

The local authority says it will give a cash boost to any borough employer willing to take on a trainee each day from December 1 up to December 23.

I would encourage businesses in the borough to get in touch and access the support that is available before it runs out

Coun David Molyneux

The enterprising advent offer is part of the town hall’s £1.5m Business Apprenticeship Programme which enables employers to access a grant of up to £5,000 to help towards the recruiting and training up of a rookie.

Because the £1.5m fund is close to running out, the council has created the festive offer as the last chance bosses have to secure a pay-out before pot dries up completely.

One grant will be allocated on each day until two days before Christmas on a first-come-first-served basis.

Already the programme has helped more than 300 businesses recruit an apprentice in the past two years. And more than 15,000 people have started apprenticeships in the borough over the past seven years.

Apprentices can be employed and trained in a wide range of skills and sectors including business administration, IT, manufacturing, mechanics, child care and beauty.

Coun David Molyneux, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Our business apprenticeship programme is unique in Greater Manchester and has already helped transform the lives of many young people who have accessed new skills and good quality employment through this route.

“I would encourage businesses in the borough to get in touch and access the support that is available before it runs out.

“Apprentices can bring so much to businesses and are proven to help improve productivity as well as giving employers an opportunity to develop the skills that their business will need in the future.” Businesses wishing to apply should visit the Business Apprenticeship Programme page at www.wigan.gov.uk/apprenticeships where further details and the application form will be available from 1st December.

Eligibility criteria includes:

Apprentice being aged 16 to 24 years old;

Employer paying National Minimum Wage (not apprenticeship wage);

Employer based in Wigan borough and not previously received a BAP grant;

New full-time post (not existing member of staff);

Sustainable job role

For further details contact Wigan Council’s Skills and Learning Team on 01942 489177 or email apprenticeships@wigan.gov.uk. The team can also support businesses with all aspects of apprenticeship recruitment, more general recruitment needs and other aspects of workforce development.