TWO local enterprise partnerships have joined forces to help businesses to recognise the benefits of employing apprentices.

As part of a broad strategy to align the skills needs of regional employers with apprenticeship training, the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER LEP) and Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have developed a toolkit to ease the way for businesses in navigating apprenticeship policy reforms and funding, including the apprenticeship levy.

The toolkit signposts towards local and national resources and demonstrates how apprenticeship training can help businesses of any size to fill their skills gaps and meet their growth aspirations.

The online, interactive toolkit will be launched by the LEPs at an employer facing event on December 3 at Bishop Burton College.

The event, which includes speakers from Nestle and JR Rix & Sons Ltd, will explain to employers how to maximise apprenticeship funding, improve apprenticeship recruitment and retention and showcase how apprenticeships have developed in recent years.

The LEPs are keen to dispel myths that apprenticeships are for entry level roles only and engage employers in accessing apprenticeships for their current staff, helping them to develop their skill sets across all levels.

YNYER LEP’s broader strategy also delivers projects to increase accessibility to apprenticeship opportunities for people living in rurally isolated areas and champion apprenticeships in schools.

The ambition is for the breadth of opportunity available to young people to be understood, by both students and parents, whilst being aligned to the needs of employers in the region.

One employer in the region, already benefitting from apprentices in their business and keen to support the partnerships to spread the good word, is York-based Nestle.

Jill Coyle, apprentice programme lead, Nestle UK & Ireland, said: “Nestlé has a long tradition in supporting apprenticeships as a key route to attracting new talent to our business. In more recent years, we have broadened our offering from engineering and manufacturing and embraced opportunities in areas such as finance, chartered management, supply chain and confectionery.

“The traditional view of apprenticeships as being primarily for new entrants to the workforce no longer applies in the modern world. The diverse and wide-ranging apprenticeship portfolio now offers great prospects for individuals at the start of their profession right through to up-skilling current employees to take the next step. Apprenticeships are a fantastic chance to continue learning and developing both personally and professionally.”

Ruth Smith, chair of the Skills and Employability Board at YNYER, added: "Working to ensure that businesses have a workforce with the skills they need both today and tomorrow is an essential part of our purpose. Apprenticeships offer businesses a unique way to achieve this.

“Apprenticeships can help address the technical skills gaps in our economy, whilst the on-the-job approach to training also provides employability skills, such as interpersonal qualities and emotional intelligence, which businesses so often tell us they need. Combined, these are crucial to improve our business productivity. We recognise that many employers, despite knowing the benefits of apprenticeships, are deterred by the perceived barriers in the way of employing them. This toolkit aims to break down those barriers and support businesses to achieve the growth and sustainability that they desire."

To find out more about the apprenticeship toolkit, go to