Close Brothers Group, MTA and AMRC have launched a programme to help fund the training of 60 manufacturing and engineering apprentices at SMEs.
The merchant bank, which lends primarily to SMEs, revealed it will help pay for 20 apprentices to be trained at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Training Centre in Sheffield under the scheme.
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Supported by the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre and the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), Close Brothers will fund half of the new recruits’ wages during the first year and a quarter in the second.
Close Brothers banking division chief executive, Stephen Hodges, said: “We know from our work with SMEs that many would like to take on apprentices but they are worried about the cost, time, and resource involved. Britain’s manufacturing companies need to recruit and train a new generation of skilled engineering workers: we hope our initiative will help more SMEs to do just that.”
The first intake will be this September this year. It is planned for a further 20 apprentices will be recruited in year two and another 20 in year three.
The scheme is open to all engineering and manufacturing SMEs and not just those currently working with Close Brothers.
James Selka, CEO of the MTA added: “Companies need highly skilled workforces to enable them to get the most out of technology they need to deploy to stay ahead. This initiative offers smaller firms the chance to be at the forefront of securing those skills for their futures.
“They, no less than larger companies, need to increase side-by-side investments in technology and skills to be globally competitive and meet customer demands for versatility.”
AMRC Training Centre Director of Training, Alison Bettac was optimistic about the possibilities this could lead to in the future: “In addition to getting a vocational education, shop floor skills and access to employment, apprentices at the AMRC Training Centre can also be taking the first step on a road that could lead to undergraduate and post graduate qualifications that could make the apprentices company leaders in the future.”
Close Brothers, the MTA and the AMRC Training Centre will offer further support for participating companies and there are plans to bring the SME apprentices and Close Brothers’ own financial apprentices together for team building and other events.