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Close Brothers launches fourth phase of SME Apprentice Programme

The fourth iteration of the Close Brothers SME Apprentice Programme is underway, with another 20 young engineers set to benefit from the scheme, bringing the number of apprentices the company has helped fund since the programme started to 80.

The scheme aims to support SMEs who might otherwise not be able to afford to take on an apprentice by contributing 50% of the apprentices’ wages in the first year; 25% in the second year and also covering all training costs.

The apprentices learn their skills at the AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham part of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Group.

“We believe the scheme has made a real difference to the business results of participating SMEs and we look forward to continuing this important initiative in partnership with the AMRC.”

Adrian Sainsbury, Managing Director of Close Brothers banking division, said apprenticeships are an excellent way for UK SMEs to fill skills gaps, develop their future workforce and improve long-term growth prospects: “For the last three years we have supported SMEs around the country to invest in apprentices and we know from experience that firms often need assistance to take on apprentices, so we designed our programme to help with the specific issues they face.

The initiative has already resulted in a number of success stories, including Close Brothers-sponsored apprentice and Foxwood Diesel heavy duty engine builder, Leigh Worsdale, who was the first female Apprentice of the Year at the AMRC Training Centre’s 2017 ceremony.