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Devolved budget funds new Manchester apprenticeship scheme

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Greater Manchester Combined Authority has used devolved funding to offer an expanded apprenticeship scheme.

Under the original devolution deal negotiated last November, the combined authority negotiated to gain control of a share of the national £85m Apprenticeship Grant for Employers as part of an agenda to locally shape skills provision. The Department for Business Innovation & Skills, and the Department for Education, have since provided Greater Manchester with a £7m pot.

AGE nationally applies to businesses with fewer than 50 employees and the grants are worth £1,500 per apprentice aged between 16 and 24.

In Greater Manchester the scheme has been altered so businesses with up to 250 employees can benefit from grants worth between £1,500 and £3,500 per qualifying candidate, again aged between 16 and 24. So far about 450 grants have been allocated.

Trafford MBC leader Sean Anstee (Con), who is the combined authority’s portfolio lead for skills and employment issues, said: “The devolution agreement recognised Greater Manchester’s desire to shape provision within the Manchester city region to deliver the skills needs of its economy.

“Building on feedback from key stakeholders, we have adapted the national apprenticeship grant to provide support to a wider range of businesses and to reward companies who offer progression opportunities and higher level apprenticeships.” 

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