West Sussex companies offered grants to take on higher apprentices

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Grants of £2,500 are being offered to businesses across West Sussex to help cover costs of taking on or up-skilling staff to become higher apprentices.

Higher apprenticeships allow managers to recruit someone who has some existing experience and/or a higher academic qualification.

Brian Pellett, general manager at Real Time DC in Bognor Regis, one of the first successful companies to apply for a grant, said: “It is important to the growth of our business that we have the correct mix of sales and technical skills.

“The Higher Apprentice Scheme allows a good mix of external technical training we cannot provide whilst receiving our training on products and customer skills. The award of the grant provided the encouragement we needed to invest.”

The funding has been made available through West Sussex County Council’s (WSCC) Be The Business initiative, launched earlier this year to help boost the economy.

Training apprentices can be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff, leading to lower overall training and recruitment costs.

Apprentices tend to be eager, motivated, flexible and loyal to the company that invested in them. What’s more, as well as the funding on offer by WSCC, further government support might also be available, said a county council spokesperson.

WSCC’s ambition is to create 50 new higher apprentices across the county by February 2015.

Council Leader Louise Goldsmith encouraged organisation of all sizes to find out how the grants could benefit them.

Louise said: “Higher Apprenticeships will help young people across the county gain confidence and get some valuable experience of working for a local organisation which is all about developing a well trained work force in West Sussex to help our economy.”

For more information visit the WSCC website.