The 100th apprentice as part of a drive to get more young people into apprenticeship roles has started his first day on the job.
Today, the start of National Apprenticeship Week, Leyton Holt, aged 16 from Atherton has started a 3-year apprenticeship with Jack and Track Automotives, after they accessed Wigan Council’s Apprenticeships for Young People (AYP) grant.
The £375,000 pot officially opened for applications almost a year ago and was set up as part of a new initiative to get more apprentices into the construction, manufacturing, engineering and digital industries.
Speaking of his new role, Leyton said: “I find working with cars really interesting and prefer getting hands on and learning on the job.
“For the last month or so, I’ve been learning at the garage through a study internship, working on tyre replacement and realignments.
“In the future I’d like to have my own garage and work for myself, that would be really good.”
The programme offers companies grants of up to £5,000 depending on the length of the apprenticeship, which helps employers to upskill and train the borough’s young people using a training provider of their choice.
Ryan Jordan, director of Jack and Track said: “It was important to us to support a young person as opposed to bringing in a qualified mechanic. As a new business, we wanted to train someone up to grow and develop with us over time.
“Leyton has shown a great work ethic so far and we look forward to supporting him throughout the apprenticeship.”
The AYP scheme is open to all young people aged between 16 and 24 residing in the borough but has also been designed to enable those with disabilities or learning difficulties, care leavers and young people not in education, employment or training can progress through an apprenticeship.
The council has also supported the Greater Manchester campaign, #SeeDifferent, which enabled the local authority to spend an additional £120,000 on apprenticeship opportunities for people of all ages.
And, thanks to both pots of money, more than 100 apprentices have been supported into work in the last year.
Leader of Wigan Council, Coun. David Molyneux said: “Providing all of our young people with the very best opportunities we can is a key priority for us.
“It’s fantastic that in this time, we have managed to support 100 young people into apprenticeships, allowing our next generation to get their foot firmly on the career ladder.”
In addition to AYP, Wigan Council has recently signed up to the Greater Manchester Levy Matchmaking service, which supports small-scale businesses to create apprenticeship opportunities.
The service, delivered by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, aims to match small-medium sized businesses with larger companies who pay an annual apprenticeship levy to the government.
The idea is that larger businesses transfer some of their unspent funds to a smaller non-levy paying business so they can provide new apprenticeship opportunities either for a new recruit or to upskill an existing member of staff.
Coun Molyneux continued: “Although the AYP programme is successful, the criteria is specific to certain industries, so by signing up to the matchmaking service, we can help smaller businesses in different fields to expand their workforce.
“The matchmaking service also allows companies who may not have the money for apprenticeship training otherwise to upskill and develop the borough’s young people and potentially, the borough’s future leaders.”
For more information about apprenticeship funding and support, visit www.wigan.gov.uk/apprenticeships.