A BLACK COUNTRY skills initiative has been awarded £8.7m to improve apprenticeship opportunities in the area.
The Black Country Training Group (BCTG), based in Oldbury, has secured the funding through the Skills Funding Agency. The money will help fund apprenticeship training starting in August this year.
The funding will support thousands of adult apprenticeship places, helping in particular 19-24 year-olds in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Chris Luty, BCTG director, said the funding was a welcome boost to the region and secured training opportunities for adult learners.
“Already this year, through our contract with the Skills Funding Agency we have been able to fund £3.5m of apprenticeship training for young people and adults,” he said.
“Apprenticeships are a major benefit to the local economy because they encourage employers to take on young people and adults in a very cost effective way.
“All the training costs for 16-18 year old apprentices are fully met, and dependant on the age and existing skills of adult apprentices part of the training costs can be covered.”
He said knowing the funding for the apprenticeships was secure for the next two years was a real boost for the Black Country, where skills improvement is deemed crucial to the economic development of the area.
Mr Luty said the funding would allow “BCTG to help local employers invest in their businesses as well as the skills of the local community”.
BCTG will manage the apprenticeship contract and also a consortium of training providers which will provide placements and qualifications in employment ranging from engineering and health to beauty and business administration.