Miranda Dobson

Leeds LEP invests £4.6m in SME apprenticeships

SME apprenticeship schemes in Leeds region will receive a £4.6m cash injection from its Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Leeds City Region LEP hopes to use the Government funding to create a variety of programmes before 2015, and potentially create 2,500 more apprenticeships with small and medium-sized businesses.

Eight “Apprenticeship Hubs” will be formed along with two new “Apprenticeship Training Agencies” (ATAs) in a bid to provide clearer and more accessible information for young people and parents.

The proposals also hope to make it easier for SMEs to take apprentices on by cutting back on red tape.

Neil McLean, chair of the Leeds City Region LEP commented: “Our recent report on apprentices indicates that a number of businesses within Leeds City Region are either unaware of the apprenticeship schemes available for their sector or feel the system is overly bureaucratic and costly.”

“We aim to change all that. Our initiatives will help businesses access information, streamline processes and offer access to alternative options.

“This is an investment with long lasting benefits that will help expand the number of opportunities for sustainable jobs available, reducing the numbers of young people who are NEET and at the same time supporting the growth of our economy.”

Councillor Peter Box, chair of the Leeds City Region Leaders Board, added: “We know that every £1 invested in apprenticeships generates £18 back to the economy; so investing in apprenticeships is a fantastic way to support our economy and at the same time help us tackle high youth unemployment and reduce NEETs across the city region.”

The LEP will develop Apprenticeship Hubs in eight locations, including Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale, York, Barnsley and North Yorkshire, which will cover Craven, Selby and Harrogate.

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