Council partnership with Newham College to provide more apprenticeship opportunities

Newham College London principal and chief executive of Paul Stephen; councillor Steve Brayshaw; Newh

Newham College London principal and chief executive of Paul Stephen; councillor Steve Brayshaw; Newham Chamber of Commerce chairman Lloyd Johnson; Newham College director of apprenticeships Julia Bollam; Digital Skills Solutions managing director Carlos Cubillo-Barsi; and, front, sales executive level 4 apprentice Farhan Hussain. Picture: Newham Council - Credit: Archant

An innovative partnership between the council and Newham College will provide more opportunities to start an apprenticeship.

A 12-month pilot scheme will enable a percentage of the council's unspent apprenticeship levy to be used by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who wish to train apprentices via the college and its subsidiary company Digital Skills Solutions.

Since the government introduced the apprenticeship levy in April 2017, Newham Council has had to pay 0.5pc of its total payroll costs every month into a levy pot held by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

After two years, any money that hasn't been used by the council to train apprentices is swallowed up by the Treasury.

The council's new apprenticeship levy transfer scheme aims to reduce this waste.

The council will transfer up to 25pc of its levy account to support apprenticeship engagement with borough businesses and residents.

This will enable participating SMEs to access apprenticeship training at no direct cost and create more apprenticeship opportunities for people in Newham.

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Councillor Steve Brayshaw, commissioner for skills, said: "We want to use our levy to ensure local businesses can develop staff skills and attract new talent.

"And we want as many residents as possible to have access to good quality employment pathways.

"This is community wealth building in action - using our own funds as both a local authority and employer for the benefit of residents, as well as our business community."

Newham College is helping to broker apprenticeships with businesses and reduce the administrative burden on those wanting to take on an apprentice.

Apprenticeships on offer include business and administration, catering and hospitality, construction, digital, education and childcare, engineering and manufacturing, health and science, finance and accountancy, and sales, marketing and procurement.

Newham College London principal and chief executive Paul Stephen said: "We are committed to make this a win-win for everyone - for residents to take up an apprenticeship; for businesses to get the apprenticeship training cost directly subsidised by the council; and for the council to give an early example of community wealth building in practice.

"It's also really important for the college as the funding we can draw down to train apprentices is limited by funding caps."