Funding is available to help North Yorkshire businesses invest in staff development through apprenticeships for new and existing staff.

As a large employer, the County Council and schools pay an apprenticeship levy under a government scheme.

As part of this, the council transfers up to 25 per cent of its levy to other employers in the county. The aim is to support employers delivering services or providing community services, by boosting the number of high-quality apprenticeships in key areas of industry and supporting social and economic needs.

Since 2019, 41 employers have taken advantage of the offer, using about £1m to train 152 apprenticeships, including in the care sector, construction, digital and voluntary sector.

Find more details of North Yorkshire’s Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund.

‘A great opportunity to earn a salary while they learn’

In partnership with Scarborough District Council, we have supported employers through levy transfer to access the training provided by the Coastal Communities Government Grant Funded Project, Scarborough Construction Skills Village.

The project aims to support local residents into apprenticeships and jobs within the construction industry, with the ability to access training in Scarborough, helping prevent that drain of local talent.

Graham Ratcliffe runs the Skills Village, which trains apprentices for all areas of the construction industry on a full-scale, mock building site in Scarborough. It trains people in joinery, brickwork, ground work, plastering, plumbing and electrical work.

Graham said: “Apprenticeships can be a great opportunity for a young person to earn a salary while they learn, but they also provide opportunity for people wanting to upskill. For instance, if there is an individual who is working as a general labourer and wants to learn a trade, such as joinery or plastering, we can support them to get an apprenticeship within that trade.

“Apprenticeships are a good way of retaining people and are good for small or medium employers who want to build their business organically. “They also benefit the area as a whole. Young people no longer have to go out of the area to learn.”

‘It has benefited our staff and our organisation’

Receiving apprenticeship levy transfer funding has also helped the county’s care sector in attracting and retaining staff by increasing their skills and progressing their careers.

Joanne Rowntree, manager of Gravers Care Home, said: “The levy funding that we received from North Yorkshire County Council has greatly benefited our staff team and our organisation. It has enabled our staff to work towards a qualification needed to help them build a career in health care.”

More than 50 per cent of the apprentices funded so far work in care settings across the county. At a time of national crisis in the recruitment of care staff it’s important for the County Council to be able to support local employers to upskill new and existing staff.

‘I work and get the skills to support my organisation’

The arts centre and outreach charity, Rural Arts, in Thirsk, is one of the community organisations to have benefited from the council’s apprenticeship levy transfer fund, which can also be used for management qualifications.

Max May, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Rural Arts, is completing the Senior Leadership Apprenticeship, which includes an MBA in Management after he was awarded money from the levy.

Max was appointed director of the charity in 2019, but had first joined the organisation via a publicly funded internship in 2014. After leaving to work with an award-winning arts charity in London, he returned to Thirsk to take up his post at the head of the organisation.

Max said: “Because I have received funding for the apprenticeship, it means I’m able to pursue this qualification while I work and get the skills to support my organisation and the team around me.

“If community organisations make use of this resource made available by the county council, we can make sure we’re responding to the changing needs of our communities, particularly after the pandemic.