Apprenticeship scheme off to a FAB start

Apprenticeship scheme off to a FAB start

Dozens of businesses and organisations across the borough are being backed to employ apprentices as part of a flagship Wigan Council scheme.

More than £250k has been allocated to firms as part of the Future Apprentices for Business (FAB) programme, which marks its first birthday this week.

FAB was unveiled during last year’s National Apprenticeship Week and the scheme is still open for applications, with grants of either £3k or £5k available.

During the past 12 months, 68 businesses have had their applications approved and nearly 40 apprentices have started their new roles with dozens more preparing to start.

Councillor David Molyneux MBE, Leader of Wigan Council, said: “Apprenticeships and opportunities for young people are a top priority for us, they are such a valuable tool.

“That is why we created the FAB programme to provide grant funding for businesses to employ an apprentice. They can build their workforce and help young people to get onto a career path and ‘earn while they learn’.

“If you are still thinking about setting up an apprenticeship, I would urge you to get in touch with the team and see how they can support.”

Apprenticeships help businesses to ‘grow their own’, develop skills for their future workforce, and at the same time create much-needed employment with training for younger people.

The FAB programme is open to Wigan borough businesses that have fewer than 250 employees who are setting up a new apprenticeship, recruiting someone aged 16-24 who lives in the borough, and paying the National Minimum Wage for age.

One organisation to benefit from the scheme is Embrace Wigan & Leigh, a charity that helps provide support for disabled people and their families.

Community manager Kate Spragg, said: “We wanted an apprentice at Embrace to help create a more diverse and inclusive team, and it’s been so rewarding to see them grow and develop during their time with us.

“The support we’ve received through the FAB scheme has been fantastic and I’d really encourage anyone thinking about taking on an apprentice to go for it.”

Wigan Council is highlighting its wide-ranging support for apprentices – both within the local authority itself and across the wider borough – as part of National Apprenticeship Week (February 5 to 11).

Coun Molyneux, added: “I am delighted that we are enabling businesses to develop apprenticeships, and it is a real source of pride for me that we as a council are ‘practicing what we preach’.

“Last year, Wigan Council was recognised as a top 100 apprenticeship employer- the only council in the country to receive that accolade in 2023.

“In 2021, we pledged to create 100 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs within town hall. We met this target the following year, two years ahead of schedule, and pledged another 100 over three years.

“Apprentices add so much to our workforce and what we do as a council, and it is great to have our work to develop apprenticeships here endorsed nationally in this way.”

Business can find out more at Future Apprentices for Business grants programme.

Posted on Monday 5th February 2024

© Wigan Council