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Unions get behind apprenticeships

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Unite the Union and Prospect have expressed their wholehearted support for Cogent SSC’s Apprenticeship training initiative, which is set to receive funding from the Government’s £50m Growth and Innovation Fund.

The Trades Unions, which have been involved in developing the bid, will also play an important role as the scheme is rolled out. The vision of the ATA is Real jobs for Real Apprentices and it will support employers in the process manufacturing and nuclear industries, to source and employ apprentices. Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary Unite the Union, and representative on the Cogent Board said: “Skills development is vital for the productivity of the process manufacturing sector and this funding will support companies in developing people and equipping with them with the specialist skills they need. Apprenticeships are the lifeblood of manufacturing, a sector which is essential to the rebalanced economy the country needs at the moment.” Dai Hudd, Deputy General Secretary of Prospect and representative on Cogent’s Board said: “We welcome this scheme, which will see Cogent working in partnership with employers to support the development of critical science and technology skills for the future. The ATA will deliver much needed new blood into the industries as well as providing a secure future for the apprentices who take part.” Cogent CEO Joanna Woolf added: “It is Cogent’s ambition to make it easy for companies to take on apprentices by removing the barriers that get in the way. Apprentices are important to the future prosperity of the sector and there is a real appetite from companies of all shapes and sizes to get involved.”

The ATA will be of particular benefit to SMEs, and will include local support networks. Being able to employ apprentices on behalf of employers will also be of significant benefit to those employers experiencing challenging trading conditions. The ATA will also offer progression routes to Higher Level Education to apprentices who complete their frameworks and an alumni programme will be established to support the promotion of apprenticeships to school children. The ATA is one of three Cogent projects to receive funding from The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The projects have all been developed under the leadership of companies and are aimed at addressing some of the skills challenges that are getting in the way of companies continued performance and growth. The overall value of the bids is circa £2.4m (subject to contract).

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