FOOD and drink manufacturing firms in Huddersfield have been urged to bid for a slice of cash available to help them boost the skills of some of their workers.
The Learning and Skills Council has reached a provisional agreement with food and drink sector training body Improve to pay for apprenticeships for people aged 25 and over in the industry.
Employers are being urged to express their interest in the scheme to demonstrate there is sufficient demand and enable York-based Improve to secure the money.
The amount of money has not been disclosed, but David Hickman, operations manager for Improve in Yorkshire, said the offer represented a fantastic deal for companies looking to plug skills gaps in their workforce.
He added: “The Government has only recently extended funding for apprenticeships to people over 24.
“This is a massive boost to the food and drink industry in particular, which is characterised by an older workforce. In Yorkshire and Humberside 90% of the 57,000 people working in food and drink manufacture are 25 or over.
“This is the first time the LSC has made any funding available for adult apprenticeships.”
Mr Hickman went on: “There are a number of advantages to training up older staff. One is that adult trainees can complete apprenticeships in as little as six months, compared to the average two years it takes entry-level apprentices.
“It also means employers can hand-pick trusted, experienced staff who already know the business and will be able to move on to more senior positions with the training offered by an apprenticeship.
“This represents a time-efficient and cost-effective means of companies responding to changing skills needs.”