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Issue:- 04 November 2010

Firms Get Cash Incentive to Hire Apprentices

LIVERPOOL businesses are being offered grants by the city council to support and encourage them to recruit new apprentices.  The Liverpool Apprenticeship Scheme business grant initiative is looking to create 100 extra apprenticeships across the city.

A one-off payment of up to £3,000 per recruit is being offered to support employers who take on new apprentices in their organisations for a minimum of a year. Businesses are expected to recruit Liverpool residents aged 16 plus.   The scheme is being promoted by the city council and is supported by the National Apprenticeship Service, TUC’s unionlearn and Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.

Councillor Nick Small, the council’s cabinet member for employment and skills, said:- “This is a key initiative in our commitment to increase the number of apprenticeships across the city.  At a time when cuts in funding are being made across the board it is even more important that we support our young people in gaining the skills they need to obtain employment. We want to have a highly skilled and motivated workforce ready to take advantage of any improvement in the economy in future years.  I hope employers of all sizes will take this opportunity to use the support available and increase the number of apprentices in Liverpool.”

The initiative will be launched at a breakfast event on Friday, 5 November 2010 from 8.30am to 10.30am, at the Tate Gallery, Albert Dock. Cllr Small and representatives from the TUC and the Chamber of Commerce will speak about the benefits of this scheme to employers and the support available to them

Laura Robertson-Collins , Regional Development Worker for TUC’s unionlearn, said:- “Unionlearn are very pleased to be working with the City Council and with employers in Liverpool to help promote apprenticeships that provide high quality work and learning opportunities for young people.  Apprenticeships should be proper jobs with the opportunity to obtain qualifications – so young people can ‘earn while they learn’. Unionlearn see trade union involvement with apprenticeships as crucial to ensure high quality learning experiences are provided and that young people are adequately paid and fully supported in the workplace”.

Carole Crosby, Deputy Chief Executive of Liverpool Chamber, said:- “Liverpool Chamber has a long history of training, supporting and placing apprentices within the local economy. We have seen first hand the real difference an apprenticeship can make both to the young person and the company that hires them.  We believe this initiative will be a great boost for all involved and welcome its implementation in the city.”

Although applications from all sectors will be considered it is intended that the business grant scheme will particularly support those employers which help fill recognised skills gaps or target potential areas for economic growth in the city such as the Superport; low carbon economy/environmental related work, the knowledge economy and the visitor economy.

Conditions which employers have to meet are:-

► Apprentices must be paid at least the relevant national minimum wage for their age group

► They have to demonstrate real valuable apprenticeship employment in a supervised work environment

► Provide support to meet the needs of people with multiple barriers to entry into the job market

Further information about the grants is available from Caroline Lodge, Liverpool City Council on:- 0151 233 4699 or via email.

For further information about Apprenticeship Training please contact Gareth Jones, National Apprenticeship Service via email.

Public invited to NHS Liverpool Community Health Board Meeting

HEALTHCARE provider NHS Liverpool Community Health is inviting members of the public to its first Board Meeting held in public.

The event will take place on 9 November 2010, at the Roy Castle Centre, Enterprise Way, on Wavertree Technology Park.

The meeting will begin at 9am prompt and is expected to run until Midday. Parking is available at the site and the venue is close to good train and bus links.

Those wishing to attend the meeting should contact Vicky Taylor on:- 0151 295 3207 by 5 November 2010.

Students will be among worst hit if government axes college grants

STUDENTS in the North West will be among the hardest hit if the government scraps weekly grants for college students, warns analysis. In some colleges in the region up to 80% of students qualify for, and would lose, the ‘vital’ financial support.

The study by the University and College Union (UCU) reveals that the North West has 4 colleges in the top 10 colleges in England with the highest percentage of students claiming the educational maintenance allowance (EMA). Research conducted by the Institute of Fiscal Studies revealed that the EMA financial support increased the proportion of males staying on in full-time education by 7.4% and females by 5.9%.

The union warned that if the grant is scrapped then it will be the areas already with low levels of educational attainment that will be hit the hardest. The union said the analysis made a mockery of government claims that cuts announced in the recent spending review were fair.

80% of students at Knowsley Community College receive the allowance, as do 75% at Bolton College. 71% of students at Hugh Baird College receive the EMA with a similar number (70%) at Burnley College also qualifying for the financial support.  20.6% of people in the Knowsley local authority have no qualifications, with a similar amount in Liverpool (20.1%). 17%of people in Burnley local authority have no qualifications, with the number in Bolton only slightly lower (15.8%) The national average is 12%.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said:- “The EMA is a vital lifeline for many students in the North West and can be the difference between them being able to study at college or being priced out. The EMA provides vital funds for students to buy books or to pay for travel to and from college.   For all George Osborne’s boasts about fairness, withdrawing the EMA will hit some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society, as well as the colleges that are there to serve them. If people start dropping out of colleges, institutions that rely on their attendance in order to get funding will be in dire financial straits.”

The findings come as politicians prepare to discuss the impact of withdrawing the EMA at an adjournment debate organised by Labour MP John Robertson.

The 20 Colleges with the highest percentage of students receiving EMAs

Rank College % of 16 to 18  year olds receiving EMA* Local Authority (% of people with no qualifications)
1 Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College 80.0% Birmingham (20.6%)
2 Knowsley Community College 80.0% Knowsley (21.4%)
3 Bolton Sixth Form College 75.0% Bolton (15.8%)
4 Gateway Sixth Form College 75.0% Leicester (22.8%)
5 Newham Sixth Form College 75.0% Newham (19.1%)
6 Longley Park Sixth Form College 72.0% Sheffield (11.0%)
7 Hartlepool Sixth Form College 71.0% Hartlepool (18.3%)
8 East Riding College 71.0% East Riding (9.9%)
9 Hugh Baird College 71.0% Liverpool (20.1%)
10 Burnley College 70.0% Burnley (17.0%)
11 Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College 69.0% Waltham Forest (21.5%)
12 Regent College 68.0% Leicester (22.8%)
13 St Francis Xavier Sixth Form College 68.0% Wandsworth (7.7%)
14 City College Birmingham 68.0% Birmingham (20.6%)
15 Christ the King Sixth Form College 67.0% Lewisham (6.6%)
16 Hopwood Hall College 66.0% Rochdale (15.9%)
17 Tower Hamlets College 66.0% Tower Hamlets (15.2%)
18 South Worcestershire College 65.0% Worcestershire (13.8%)
19 Brooke House Sixth Form College 65.0% Hackney (14.2%)
20 St Charles Catholic College 64.0% Kensington and Chelsea (7.5%)
  Average 46.4%
(England only)
12.0% (UK)

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