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Building Services can offer apprenticeship model

The Government has launched a £10 million search for the best way to boost apprenticeship numbers and building services firms could be a model for other sectors according to the Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association.

The new trials will be designed to find the best model for rapidly expanding apprenticeship numbers with businesses being offered a share of £10m in funding to take part in the three-year Apprenticeship Expansion Programme.

Sarah Wicks, head of training and education at the HVCA, said the existing building services engineer apprenticeship scheme had proved a success over several years: “We believe we have a model which should be used more widely.

“We know it works - it is clear and vocationally based with a good portion of work based training matched up to college courses. It is a partnership between colleges, employers and students with a high success rate.”

The new funding is available to large businesses and groups of small and medium sized businesses who have a track record of delivering high quality apprenticeship programmes.

Financial support is available to meet the additional costs associated with the trials such as wages, training and management costs.

The Learning and Skills Council will be overseeing the programme and wants to work collaboratively with employers.

David Way, National Director of Apprenticeships at the LSC, said “Given the current economic slowdown it is important that companies continue training their staff to maintain productivity and a competitive edge.

“The new funding will make it easier for businesses to do this and provide the opportunity for industry sectors to successfully fill their existing skills gaps”.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 16 January 2009.