Plan set to boost employment and apprenticeships in Hampshire
Hampshire County Council is putting in place a raft of support to help residents get into work if they have become unemployed or had difficulty finding work after leaving education or training, due to COVID-19.
Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “In the coming months, the Employment and Skills strategy and plan, developed by our Skills & Participation Service, will put in place a range of measures to boost employment and apprenticeships in Hampshire. Targeting those who have been most affected by the impact of COVID-19, it will help to get the county’s economy back on its feet by building on, and complementing, national initiatives to promote employment and reduce the number of people who are out of work, such as the national ‘Kickstart’ scheme.”
“It has been widely reported that many businesses, both large and small, have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, resulting in some folding, and job losses in others in order to keep their companies going” added Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment.
He continued: “By increasing opportunities for learning and training we will be growing the number of people equipped with the skills that employers are looking for to meet local needs. Alongside this, our strategy supports employers to create job related training opportunities. Our ambition is to minimise the negative impact of COVID-19 on our local economy, increase economic prosperity and continue to develop a skilled workforce for Hampshire to 2030 and beyond.”
At the centre of Hampshire’s Employment and Skills Strategy are three core principles – to develop:
Skills to meet local need and increase productivity for a prosperous and resilient local economy;
A local labour market that cultivates talent and creates employment opportunities for all in Hampshire’s communities;
A high-quality skills training infrastructure and facilities to create industry-standard training in young people aged 16 – 24 which raises their aspirations and achievements, as well as meeting employer demand.
Actions being taken – more apprenticeships
The strategy sets out the actions that the County Council will be taking, including doubling the available Apprenticeship Levy funding to a total of £2 million. The scheme provides funding for employers to create apprenticeship opportunities which would not be possible otherwise. Further, the levy funding criteria will be extended to allow businesses to support higher and degree level apprenticeships. Businesses benefiting from the levy will be further supported by national funding, since the Government has introduced a new payment to employers of between £1,500 and £2,000 for each new apprentice hired (1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021).
Adult and community learning programmes
£1.3 million is being invested in Adult and Community learning and, in partnership with training providers, new, county-wide programmes will be created for adult basic skills, helping individuals to improve their literacy and numeracy, and digital skills for employability and wellbeing.
Employability Hubs are being established across the county, specialising in training and support for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and in expanding the number of work-based training opportunities for those with SEND.
Careers Information, Advice and Guidance
Finally, in support of those nearing school and college leaving age, the County Council’s comprehensive Careers Information and Guidance Service will be expanded to be able to offer schools and colleges expert advice to enable them to develop their careers programmes, as well as to achieve the Quality in Careers kitemark. Provision of careers and work-experience services and targeted support for young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) or at risk of NEET will be continued as a priority.
Education and Training for 16 to 18 year olds
The County Council has a responsibility to ensure that all young people, after they leave education at age 16, have an appropriate offer of a place in education, employment or training for the following academic year. This is known as the ‘September Guarantee’, and the Hampshire Futures Service is continuing to work hard to ensure that this is delivered for the current cohort given the exceptional challenges they have already faced.
Anyone wanting to find out more, including employers who would like to know more about applying for Apprenticeship Levy funding, should visit: