NGi have successfully secured €374,000 in funding directly from the European Union to explore the barriers faced by Small & Medium Enterprises (SME's) in the UK in engaging with Apprenticeships. This information will be shared with international partners who have a proven track record of helping SME's engage with Apprenticeships with a view to developing a programme of support to help UK SME's better engage with Apprentices.
Gedling Borough approached NGi with this need and over the course of 6-months NGi, working closely with the Borough Council put together the project plan, identified the right partnership and put this into an application for funding direct to the European Union.
Partners include a Canadian organisation whose reason for being is to increase SME engagement of apprentices and a German partner who research VET initiatives and report on successful innovation in this arena. Given the increasing growth rate of SME engagement with apprenticeships in Canada and Germany's well established delivery and infrastructure models which see a very high SME engagement in this area we should be able to identify best practice which would be internationally transferable and/or adaptable.
Partners from the UK, Bulgaria and Poland will seek best practice to implement within their own country.
Further all partners will work to establish an innovative programme of support and training for the managers of SME to use in engaging with apprenticeships. On completion of the project it is envisaged that in these 3 countries, specialist teams will exist whose role it is to assist and support SMEs in apprenticeship engagement.