Building Wiltshire’s skills with apprenticeships

Dominic Merlin-Cone, Tax Director at Grant Thornton South West discusses the importance of apprenticeships on the lead up to National Apprenticeship Week, March 6-10, 2017. 

From April, the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing. Some employers will be required to pay a new apprenticeship levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers.

The levy is being introduced to encourage employers to offer apprenticeships in meeting their skills, workforce and training needs. The government plans to meet its target of three million apprenticeship starts by 2020 by giving more control to employers, through direct access to training funds and creation of apprenticeships through the Trailblazer process.

Our recent Vibrant Economy Index which looked at how towns and cities in the UK compare on a range of factors – including prosperity, health, and happiness – found that although the West of England is a fantastic place to live and work, opportunities for growth still exist when it comes to skills development. Apprenticeships are a great way to help bridge the gap, having become a vital part of the economy and the employment market.

The very best firms are the ones who have a motivated, highly skilled and trained workforce. A successful apprenticeship scheme should instil a strong work ethic, professional pride and high expectations into the participants, as well as encouraging extra-curricular activities for personal development. The levy is an opportunity to have a root and branch review of your organisation, re-think your approach to workforce development and further grow your business.

To support this notion, Grant Thornton is hosting a Live Labs event focused on the West of England and held at At-Bristol Bristol on March 1.

The Live Lab will bring together academia, business and the public sector, to help us to consider the West of England’s strengths and tackle how we can help educate, train and retain the people with the skills the region needs to grow.

Apprenticeships and training of the very highest calibre play a vital role, not just for businesses here in the West of England but also for the economy as a whole to help people and businesses thrive. Our talented people, with their desire and determination to learn, hold the key to boosting businesses in the region.

If you’d like to find out more about Bristol’s Live Lab event, click here or join the conversation at #vibrantWE.

Pictured above: Dominic Merlin-Cone

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