FIFTY apprenticeships could be created across the district within two months thanks to a new council scheme.
The Kirklees Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme is offering grants of £1,500 to businesses which take on a young apprentice.
But companies will have to move quickly to take up the opportunity.
The scheme closes on March 31 or as soon as all 50 places are filled.
The new initiative is part of council efforts to tackle spiralling unemployment.
Kirklee Council leader Mehboob Khan said it would bring benefits for both businesses and the young people taken on.
“Over the last two years, we’ve seen youth unemployment rise by 22 per cent in Kirklees,” he said. “We now have over 4,000 Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants who are under 25.
“Getting young people back into work is a big priority for the council. This scheme will help to secure the futures of 50 individuals.”
Tuesday’s announcement coincided with other National Apprenticeship Week activities across Kirklees, including an apprenticeship event at the Galpharm Stadium in Huddersfield.
It was welcomed by Dewsbury business Rixonway Kitchens, a national apprenticeship ambassador.
Rixonway chief executive Paul Rose said: “This is a great initiative and one that I’m sure will prove very popular. We have always supported apprentices and have seen great benefits from employing them.”
Although the council holds the funds for the scheme, it will be the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) regional office which handles business applications.
NAS employer account manager Amrez Bhatti said: “Eighty-one per cent of employers say that apprenticeships increase productivity in their business and that having apprentices makes them more competitive.
“We’re looking forward to bringing more of these benefits to Kirklees firms.”
The scheme is open to any Kirklees business employing fewer than 250 people, which can allow the apprentice time off to train.
Apprentices taken on through roles created with the council cash must be Kirklees residents and aged between 16 and 24.
NAS can help to identify a business’ employment needs and find suitable apprentice training providers.
More information is available online at www.kirklees.gov.uk/apprenticeshipweek.
Businesses can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Mr Bhatti at NAS on 01274 444125.
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