Manufacturers urged to take ‘Skills Pledge’ to protect apprentice pipeline in wake of COVID-19 pandemic
19 May 2020
UK skills training provider, In-Comm Training has launched a new campaign to ensure apprenticeships are protected as manufacturers seek to find ways of coping with the coronavirus pandemic.
In-Comm Training, which operates three academies at Aldridge, Bridgnorth and Shropshire, is asking West Midlands firms to sign-up to its ‘Skills Pledge’, which will see them commit to supporting apprentices, raising the profile of vocational learning and ‘upskilling’ their workforces.
‘Powering the Engine’ will last for over a year and will ensure industry does not sacrifice the investment and time it has channelled into developing the talent they are going to desperately need to help reignite the economy as lockdown starts to ease.
Eight companies have already taken one of the pledges, including Brandauer, CHH Conex, Glassworks Hounsell, Gotronic, Holbourne Industrial Plastics, Kiyokuni Europe, MET Recruitment and Valen Fittings.
Bekki Phillips, Managing Director of In-Comm Training, explained: “The impact of COVID-19 has turned the economy upside down and many firms are trying to work out how they navigate their way through the crisis, making a lot of tough decisions in the process.
“We had noticed that a few firms were starting to let their apprentices go due to cost-cutting and wanted to address this before it becomes a major issue for young people – and for an economy that is staring at a major talent drain.”
She continued: “There has been too much progress made in bridging the skills gap for us to just sit back and watch this happen, so we’ve decided to do something about it by launching the In-Comm Training Skills Pledge.
“Companies can sign-up for one, two or all three of the options, and in return, we offer a range of tangible incentives and our own commitment to lobby Government on their behalf, so that we can secure as much assistance as possible to support skills development in these difficult times.”
The three pledges for the ‘Powering the Engine’ campaign include:
• Apprenticeship Ambassadors: the company and an apprentice will give up one hour of their time to participate in promoting the benefits of apprenticeships
• Skills Support for the Workforce: a commitment to put some of its staff through upskilling courses over the next 12 months
• Apprenticeship Recruitment: to recruit one or more apprentices every year
Companies taking part will receive a specific incentive depending on the pledge they take and these range from a free skills audit and report, to free Learning Mentor courses and 5% off the cost of upskilling courses (when they cost over £500).
For every firm that signs up, In-Comm has also committed to manufacturing five PPE visors for the NHS or local care homes.
Bekki concluded: “We want to get people talking about skills and highlighting the huge benefits apprentices can bring to the bottom line of a business, regardless of which sectors they operate in.
“This could be through social media campaigns, taking part in virtual networking, writing thought leadership articles or contributing video case studies. Let’s keep training on the agenda so we continue to have new talent coming through the ranks.
“Apprenticeships can also be used to upskill an existing employee, so they develop new skills and are more flexible to the business. A lot of levy paying companies are still having to shoulder costs, so they might as well make the most of the situation.”
In-Comm Training has delivered in excess of 40 different trailblazer apprenticeships to 800 apprentices over the last twelve months.
All of these have been written in partnership with world class industrial partners to ensure the technical content is right for their current and future requirements, while all individuals apply their learning on machinery and equipment that will futureproof them for years to come.
The company has recently been named as one of the training providers for a new skills fund run by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which means firms do not have to pay the 5% contribution to take on an Apprenticeship, saving up to £1350.
For further information or to take the Skills Pledge, please visit www.in-comm.co.uk/skills-pledge or follow @incomm_training on Twitter.
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