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Skills Funding Agency provides enhanced funding  for higher apprenticeships in the Black County

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (BCLEP) and Black Country Skills Factory are joining forces with the Skills Funding Agency to highlight the business benefits of higher apprenticeships and signpost employers to additional funding at a breakfast event on 20 May 2015 at the Village Hotel in Dudley.

The Skills Funding Agency has made additional funding available for higher apprenticeships in the Black Country, the deadline for applications is 31 July 2015. The funding will support employers in covering 50% of the higher apprenticeship costs for young people aged 19 – 23 years and 40% for young people aged 24+. The event on 20 May is aimed at helping employers from all sectors gain impartial information and advice about apprenticeships in the Black Country as well as advice on how to access the enhanced funding.

Employers who are thinking of progressing their apprentice(s) to the next level or are supporting the development of their employees onto professional qualifications such as AAT, HNC, CIM (etc) should attend this event.

Stewart Towe, Chairman of the BCLEP, said: "There has never been a better time to take on an Apprentice, with the enhanced funding on offer from the Skills Funding Agency until 31 July, we are urging businesses to sign up to this event to ensure their share of the funding. At the event employers will share best practice experience of higher apprentices and share the business benefits of apprenticeships for all sectors across the Black Country.”

Dan Baker, from the Skills Funding Agency, said: "We are keen to make sure as many businesses as possible understand the benefits of taking on apprenticeships as well as understand the funding currently available to them.  We are delighted to work in partnership with the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and through delivering these sessions with the Skills Factory team we are able to ensure we are speaking to the right businesses, in the right sectors, offering the right advice.”

The session will be introduced by Stewart Towe, Chairman of the BCLEP and will include best practice advice from a Black Country employer with experience of supporting higher apprenticeships; outline the technicalities and business benefits of high apprenticeships; and provide independent information on the funding opportunities available. The breakfast will draw to a close with a Q&A session with a panel of employers from different sectors from across the Black Country including engineering, health, IT, science, business services and management.

In 2013/14, higher apprenticeships starts represented 3.5% of all apprenticeship starts in the Black Country, higher than the West Midlands which recorded 2.6% and figures released for England as a whole, which show higher apprenticeships as 2.1% of all apprenticeship starts.

The event on 20 May will be delivered by the Black Country Skills Factory in partnership with the Skills Funding Agency. The Black Country Skills Factory is an employer-led project whose aim is to address the skills shortages in the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) sector in the Black Country, the only scheme of this kind across the UK to focus specifically on the HVM sector. 

The breakfast takes place on 20 May 2015 at the Village Hotel in Dudley from 7.45am – 9.30am and is FREE to attend for employers from any sector of the Black Country. For more information please visit or call 01384 471163 / email to book your place.

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