Apprenticeship Levy payers urged to support scheme that boosts training in small firms

June 10, 2021

West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris is calling on employers to help increase the number of apprenticeships in the region.

With an estimated £4m to £8m of unused Apprenticeship Levy funds returned to the Treasury each year, Mayor Norris is calling for apprentice levy-paying employers to give their unused funds to a new scheme called Share to Support

Administered by not-for-profit membership organisation Western Training Provider Network on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), which Mayor Norris heads, Share to Support aims to help smaller businesses recover through funding new apprenticeships.

The funds can then be used to cover the cost of training apprenticeships in small businesses, including new recruits and existing employees.

Among the large West of England employers to have already pledged to back the Share to Support scheme are Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council and GKN Aerospace.

Mayor Norris, pictured, said: “Let’s keep it local: Cash for apprenticeship training should stay in the West of England. Thank you to the big businesses that have already signed up so that cash raised locally for training doesn’t end up back in treasury coffers. 

“We are working together to share prosperity and opportunities for local people.”

Western Training Provider Network director Alex Richards added: “We are delighted that this initiative is up and running, we are experiencing real demand for it.

“It’s a great partnership between local government, business and education that will make a difference.

“Keep training investment local, creating more career opportunities for our young people who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and supporting smaller employers to build back better through skills and apprenticeship investment.”

Bath & North East Somerset Council apprenticeship coordinator Denise England said the council was delighted to strengthen its support for the community by being part of the Share to Support scheme.

GKN technical training manager Paul Ashbee said: “During these challenging times, GKN Aerospace is delighted to be able to offer its support to the community by being part of this important initiative.”

The campaign is being delivered as part of the WECA’s Workforce for the Future Programme, co-funded by the European Social Fund.

The Western Training Provider Network connects education, business, skills and training. Its apprenticeship services aim to increase the percentage of businesses across the West of England using apprenticeships to recruit, retain and develop a skilled workforce.

Employers can pledge their unspent apprenticeship levy by visiting


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