How exciting I am now a director of an ATA, an Apprentice Training Agency. Service Direct Newco, a wholly owned subsidiary of the council has been awarded this status. It has been a long up-hill climb to get there but it offers us some important capabilities. My thanks must go to Cath, Steven and Lee for persevering.
It is National Apprenticeship Week after all and what better way to mark it?
This is what the government’s web site says: ‘If you are interested in employing an apprentice but cannot currently commit to the length of time needed for a full apprenticeship, an apprenticeship training agency (ATA) may be the right option for you. Apprenticeship training agencies recruit, employ and arrange training for apprentices on behalf of employers.’
I don’t know the exact number of ATAs but I think it is around one hundred across the country.
This is another major key component in our apprentice plans. The levy will soon be upon us and this will allow us to develop our apprentice loan scheme further. The idea is that we underwrite the (usually) young people by employing them as apprentices and getting them to understand what work means. We then work with small and medium sized organisations who are not able to commit fully to an apprentice, either because of their capacity, financial position or just they have never thought about it.
The companies get to try new people who they may take on, the apprentice gets to build their CV and experience wider job opportunities and we get to help grow the economy of Durham, even if it is in a small way.
We have already had some successes with the scheme yet it is early days. The ATA will make a big difference and act as a springboard to grow the scheme further. It may be small but I am very proud and excited about taking this forward.