As young people from across Oxfordshire collect exam results – whether that’s A-levels, GCSEs or other qualifications – many will feel unsure and possibly confused as to what their future prospects are, particularly following the very sad emergence of COVID-19 and the unfortunate impact it has had on their exam results.
Here in Oxfordshire, we are not only home to many world-leading businesses but also, globally-significant sectors who base their activity in-and-around the county. With this in mind, young people collecting their exam results should be exploring opportunities that exist close to home, in particular, apprenticeship opportunities.
Such opportunities are of course dependent upon businesses being in a position to create these placements. Not only do businesses need to be convinced of the positives apprenticeships will bring to their organisation, but also, they need to understand the financial support that is now available to them, taking some of the fiscal strain away from them.
Earlier this summer, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the Government were to introduce incentive payments for employers, encouraging businesses to create apprenticeship opportunities within their companies.
Not only is this new initiative significant in being able to directly help businesses to boost productivity following the COVID-19 outbreak, but it gives them the opportunity to attract new, talented young people to their organisation at a critical time – in particular, for those smaller businesses who may find it harder to recruit new people.
Businesses who hire new apprentices between 1 August this year and 31 January next year can receive £2,000 for apprentices aged between 16 and 24, and £1,500 for apprentices aged 25 and over. Companies can apply from 1 September and spend the payment on anything they need to support their organisation.
At OxLEP, we believe that apprenticeships not only support businesses’ growth plans, but also, provide pathways for our young people across all communities. And we have already seen dozens of young people benefit from such schemes – last year’s Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards are testament to this thought.
If you’re an Oxfordshire business ready to create a new apprenticeship opportunity, speak to our OxLEP Skills team who will be able to guide you at this critical time.