Help for local firms looking to recruit staff

Birmingham trades businesses urged to seize government apprenticeship grants.

Sole traders and trades businesses across Birmingham are being urged seize new grants of up to £4,000 to help fund new apprenticeships in the region.

Available from now until September 2021, the new government incentives have been introduced to help support local unemployed people and firms looking to recruit new talent, while helping the Birmingham economy recover following the pandemic.

Pic – Jim Poyner Photography

In his recent Spring Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced increased apprenticeship incentives of £3,000 – in addition to the existing £1,000 for new apprentices aged 16 to 19 – for UK trades businesses, SMEs and sole traders taking on apprentices until September 2021, as well as an injection of £126 million to fund new traineeships.

Now, the HomeServe Foundation is calling on Birmingham-based sole traders and trades businesses to get in touch to find out more and is offering support to help find and hire new plumbing and heating or electrical apprentices in the region.

“We think these new government incentives could help many unemployed people in Birmingham find new roles in the trades sector, as well as provide the spark for small businesses and sole traders to invest in new skills and extend their team,” said Helen Booth, Director of the HomeServe Foundation (pictured), which is the charity arm of FTSE-250 home repairs company HomeServe.

“There’s no doubt the impacts of the Covid pandemic have hit Birmingham hard. Nationally, ONS figures show 693,000 fewer people were in employment this February compared to last, so we need to turn things around quickly. Recruiting and training people in new skills will be key to this. We can provide the information sole traders and trade firms need to make things simple to access these grants and find a new apprentice.”

HomeServe is enabling local trades firms in the Birmingham to take advantage of the grant through its best-in-class Apprenticeship Academy in Nottingham. The team has advisors ready and waiting to take local firms through every step of the process, from finding an apprentice, to getting them working.

A new UK Domestic Trades Skills report by the HomeServe Foundation shows demand for trade skills are soaring in the UK, with new house building increasing, new green energy infrastructure being built, and demand for home improvements and repairs scaling significantly.

The report calculates a projected trades skills shortage could lead to increasing house prices, and home repairs and improvements costs. Sixty per cent of this type of work is carried out by trade SMEs of nine of fewer employees.

Within the construction sector alone, the report reveals a need to recruit 228,000 key trades apprentices nationally. Just 61 per cent of those are plumbers, electricians and joiners.

“This growing demand provides a real opportunity for SME trades businesses to grow if they invest now,” added Helen. “We need to join together to seize these by using the incentives, providing more support, and building collaboration and partnership in Birmingham.”