Government launches grants worth £1,500 for small businesses

06 February 2012

To kick off National Apprenticeship Week, 6-10 February 2012, over 50 businesses gathered at Oaklands College Smallford Campus to hear about the latest government incentives to hire Apprentices.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, today announced as part of National Apprenticeship Week that businesses would be given a £1500 cash incentive for taking on their first apprentice under the age of 24, as part of the Government’s ‘Youth Contract’ to get 400,000 young people into work.

In St Albans alone, there are 400 unemployed 18-24 year olds, but, as Vicky Wing from the Job Centre Plus [JCP] explained to delegates at the Oaklands College Apprenticeship Breakfast Briefing this morning, there are currently 640 unfilled vacancies with the St Albans branch of JCP.

This anomaly is due to a lack of skilled workers which Apprenticeship and work experience schemes are there to address.

June Cory, Social Media expert and Managing Director of My Mustard, pointed out to delegates that last month alone, 1,000 people in Hertfordshire searched for ‘Apprenticeships’ on Google, suggesting that there is a real demand out there for the scheme.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Oaklands College is running a unique competition for a local business to win an Apprentice, fully-funded, for a year. Worth up to £6,000 and run in conjunction with 106 Jack FM in Hertfordshire, businesses can enter online at Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes, has agreed to choose the winner personally.

Oaklands College will be at St Albans market on Wednesday running a drop-in Q&A stall for young people and businesses who want to find out more about Apprenticeships.