Businesses will be offered a cash incentive to hire 200 apprentices in a Surrey County Council scheme welcomed by Skills Minister John Hayes.
Leader David Hodge used today's (17 July) meeting of the Full Council to announce the £300,000 scheme that will see employers handed £1,500 for every teenage apprentice taken on.
Surrey has targeted creating 200 apprenticeships for under-19s as part of its pledge to promote economic growth. That commitment has already seen county businesses win more than £740 million of 2012 Games related contracts and a promise for 60% of the council's spending on goods and services to go to local firms.
Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister Mr Hayes said: "Apprenticeships have never been more vital. They are pivotal to our skills system and an essential part of our strategy for economic growth.
"I warmly welcome the initiative that Surrey County Council is taking to boost the growth of apprenticeships in Surrey."
The council's grant is in addition to the £1,500 the Government offers small and medium-sized businesses recruiting an apprentice up to the age of 24 as part of its aim of getting 40,000 young people into work.
Last year the county council successfully spearheaded a campaign to create 200 apprenticeships at Surrey businesses in 100 days and followed up by pledging to fill 100 apprentice places at the authority in a year*.
Mr Hodge said: "This stimulus will help deliver not just a boost to these 200 young people but also offers real solutions to Surrey businesses.
"The Government’s Apprenticeship Grant for Employers has been a really welcome boost for small and medium-sized businesses. We want to extend the reach of the programme to encourage more Surrey businesses to get involved.
"Under our new proposals all companies, of any size and with any past history with apprentices, will qualify for the Surrey grant. I believe this shows that without a doubt, we are 100% behind helping our young people and our local businesses."
Businesses wanting to find out more can contact Chris Bussicott on 01483 519342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read a transcript of David Hodge's announcement by following this link.
* In the last financial year the council created 75 apprenticeships in services such as highways, countryside management, information technology and adult social care.
Apprenticeships are paid jobs that incorporate on and off the job training. Successful apprentices receive a nationally recognised qualification.