Two prestigious Lincolnshire businesses have donated a portion of their apprenticeship levy to fund apprenticeships for six members of staff from YMCA Lincolnshire.
Frontier Agriculture and Lincolnshire Co-op have donated a total of £46,500 between them as part of the Government’s apprenticeship levy scheme.
As of April 2019, businesses that pay the levy have been able to donate up to 25 per cent of the annual value of funds to other organisations to use for training their staff.
At YMCA Lincolnshire, four employees are enrolled on apprenticeships funded by Frontier Agriculture, which has a site in Witham St Hughs near Lincoln, while two others are having their courses paid for by Lincolnshire Co-op.
All six are studying their apprenticeships with Lincoln College and assessors will check in with them on a regular basis, offering tailored support throughout.
Michael Ward, Corporate Services Director for YMCA Lincolnshire, said: “We’re so grateful to these companies for helping to fund quality training which we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford as a charitable organisation.”
Frontier Agriculture donated £28,500 of its levy to fund apprenticeships for YMCA Lincolnshire Climbing Wall Supervisor Jack Drake and Conference and Retail Manager Laura Fisher.
Jack is currently undertaking a Level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor apprenticeship, while Laura Fisher is working towards becoming a Level 5 Operations Department Manager.
Also enrolled thanks to Frontier Agriculture are Cecily Mumby, on a Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor course, and Rebecca May who has started a Level 3 Business Administrator apprenticeship.
Rebecca, who has worked at YMCA Lincolnshire for six years, said: “None of us would have been able to do an apprenticeship, which will enable us to develop our skills while staying in jobs we love, without funding from another business.
“I’m really enjoying studying and I love being able to apply the knowledge I’m gaining from it in real life.”
Lydia Martin, early careers development advisor at Frontier Agriculture, said: “Frontier invests a great deal in the development of our people and offering apprenticeships forms a part of how we help them realise their career goals. We’re also keen to support local communities in the areas surrounding our sites.
“This is the first time we’ve donated our apprenticeship levy to support the wider community and we are delighted to be partnering with YMCA Lincolnshire. Enabling people from other organisations to access apprenticeships, particularly those who might not get the opportunity otherwise, is really rewarding for us.
“It’s been great to meet some of the people we’re supporting and put faces to names. We are looking forward to checking in and finding out how they’re doing.”
Matt Brown, resourcing manager at Lincolnshire Co-op, said: “As an ethical consumer co-operative one of our main focuses is to support people in our community, so being able to share our levy to help people personally better themselves and create added value for local organisations, community groups and charities is fantastic.
“We’re very excited to be supporting YMCA Lincolnshire as it provides a wide range of much-needed services.
“We run a number of apprenticeship schemes at Lincolnshire Co-op so we know how valuable they can be in terms of developing talented people who are either just beginning or furthering their careers.”
Nicola Hall, key account manager for Lincoln College, said: “The format of apprenticeships is now much more flexible, in that they can be individualised to enable apprentices to get as much out of their studies as possible.
“I would urge other businesses that pay the apprenticeship levy to consider donating it to other organisations if they can’t or won’t be using it to develop their own staff, as it’s definitely a case of ‘use it or lose it’.”
Michael added: “We’re currently exploring opportunities for the apprentices to spend some time within the business that has funded their course, so they can gain an insight into how other organisations operate and benefit from practical experience outside of YMCA Lincolnshire.”