Santander pledges £1m to support SME apprenticeships in the Leeds City Region
Santander has pledged £1m to support small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the Leeds City Region with new apprenticeship programmes over the next two years.
In partnership with Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP), Santander will transfer part of its Apprenticeship Levy Fund to local SMEs to fund the recruitment and training of apprentices predominantly in the care sector, as well as to support businesses looking to build digital skill sets within their companies.
The commitment through the government backed Apprenticeship Levy scheme ensures that unspent levy goes towards supporting businesses to fund their own apprenticeship programmes where they may not have previously been able to benefit from the apprenticeship levy. The new schemes will not only cover the costs of recruitment and training of apprentices to enable businesses to thrive but will also ensure investment is made into creating career developing opportunities for many within the local area.
Nathan Bostock, Santander UK’s CEO said: “The region’s SMEs have had an incredibly challenging year, but they are vital to the future of the local economy and employment. By committing apprenticeship levy funds in this way, we want to enable local businesses to benefit from new skills and talent which will help them to boost their productivity and recover as quickly as possible from the pandemic. It is just another way in which we are helping businesses, now more than ever, to prosper.”
Roger Marsh, OBE DL, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the NP11, said: “It is great to see a major high street bank like Santander transferring their unused apprenticeship levy funding to help apprentices within the Leeds City Region.
“Levy-paying businesses play a key role in supporting apprenticeships across the region and help to give people the opportunity to gain valuable skills. Using unspent levy funds to cover 100% of training costs for local businesses will lead to long-term benefits for multiple industries, as it will increase skills across sectors and support the future workforce. This will be important to our region’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring our economy works for everyone.”
Minister for apprenticeships and skills, Gillian Keegan said: “Santander’s pledge to support small and medium businesses by transferring part of their levy funds will enable more people to benefit from an apprenticeship as we build back better from the pandemic. It’s fantastic that the majority of those supported by this funding will be in the local care sector.
“Apprenticeships are a great way for employers of all sizes to get access to the talent they need to thrive, while also creating new exciting career opportunities for local communities.”
The transfer of funds of £500,000 per year over two years will go towards over 100 level two and level three apprenticeship programmes across the care sector and several digital technology level four, level five and level six apprenticeships for SMEs in various other industries. Together with the LEP, Santander will also explore new hybrid care sector apprenticeships encompassing the development of digital skills within the sector which are vital for the future.
The LEP will support the new apprenticeships programmes by sourcing training providers with expertise to deliver the appropriate standard as well as managing applications from SMEs across the Leeds City region including areas such as Bradford and Wakefield.
Since 2016, Santander’s apprenticeship schemes have put social mobility at its core of its approach to emerging talent, supporting individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds. Focusing on some of the key social mobility cold spot areas of the UK ensures the new pledge also supports Santander’s overall commitment to social mobility and everyday inclusion.
Santander has over 340 apprentices on schemes across the organisation which cover levels two through to six. Over 15 different apprenticeship standards are currently being delivered from the core Financial Services schemes to others including the Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Level apprenticeships. Those participating come from diverse backgrounds and include school leavers, graduates as well as Santander employees.
This latest pledge follow’s Santander’s continued commitment to the North of England – last year Santander opened its first Work Café in Leeds and announced its new partnership with the Northern Powerhouse. Since the pandemic, Santander has supported Yorkshire based businesses with almost £300m in Bounce Back Loans as well as with repayment holidays and practical, beyond banking support with our Survive and Revive business support programme. Survive and Revive was designed to help businesses with the knowledge and capabilities to prosper through the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.