First rail companies pledge £300,000 to boost apprenticeships at small companies

Two large employers are helping the region’s economy recover from Covid-19 by pledging £300,000 to the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to boost jobs and skills at smaller businesses.

CrossCountry and Chiltern Railways, part of the Arriva group, one of the leading providers of passenger transport in Europe, are the first train operators to join the scheme.

The WMCA set up the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund to cover the costs of training apprentices at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West Midlands and last month funded training for a record 232 apprentices across the region.

A total of 936 apprentices and 302 SMEs have now benefited from the fund, demonstrating the WMCA’s commitment to keeping levy money within the region, boosting skills, job opportunities and productivity by supporting more young people and adults of all ages into work.

Charged by HM Revenue and Customs on all businesses with a payroll of over £3 million, the levy is held by the Government for businesses across the country to utilise the funds to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment by bringing in new talent or plugging skills gaps with their staff. Any unspent levy is retained by the Government after a two-year period.

The WMCA uses its strong local knowledge and relationships to identify large businesses which can donate unspent levy to SMEs through the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund, covering 100% of their apprenticeship training and assessment costs.

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