Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Support for Forestry Apprenticeships in the South East

We're all starting to see some interesting developments in the markets for wood and we anticipate this will help bring management back to many woods where it's been uneconomic for many years.

However, if we're to service these markets it's likely we'll need some new staff in in the mainstream forest industry.

Many of you are already aware that the Forestry Commission has managed to garner a little extra support from Defra to support 'main stream' forestry apprenticeships.

We've been talking to Plumpton college about the formal training that supports apprenticeships and seeking practical advice from forestry contractors.

The FC is also working with the Small Woods Association which has organised a 'Work in the Woods week' from 5-7th March at the Woodland Enterprise Centre at Flimwell in East Sussex to give potential apprentices a taste for what forestry work is really like.

In the afternoon of Wednesday the 7th there will be a barbeque where potential employers can come to meet potential apprentices. This will be followed by a short meeting for forestry contractors who are considering taking on an apprentice where we'll outline the support available and discuss the practical training which is really needed and the barriers which we collectively need to overcome.

If any of you are directly interested or know of someone who might be, either as someone seeking an apprentice or looking to become an apprentice, please see the contact details above.

If you would like to attend the barbecue and learn more please let me know no later than Monday the 5th March.

The UK Government has also recently announced a 'cash injection for business to boost youth jobs':

Thousands of companies will be receiving a letter calling on them to play their part in getting young people earning or learning.

Employers will be able to access cash to help cover the cost of taking on fresh talent through a ‘wage subsidy’.  The subsidy will be paid to companies for taking on young unemployed people and is designed to cover costs like National Insurance contributions.

The wage subsidy will pay £2,275 to employers for every 18 – 24 year old unemployed person they employ from the Work Programme.

It is open to all businesses, voluntary organisations and charities.

Payments for the majority of business will be made after the young person has been employed for 26 weeks.  For smaller enterprises these payments will be staggered, with the first payment after 8 weeks and the rest after 26.  This recognises that smaller businesses need a boost to their cashflow to make the jobs viable.

The wage incentive will also be available for part time positions, with a rate of £1,137.50 if someone is employed between 16 and 29 hours.

The Youth Contract was launched in November and aims to lift all young people out of unemployment.  It will also support at least 20,000 extra incentive payments worth £1,500 each for employers to take on young people as apprentices, taking the total number of payments available to 40,000.

250,000 additional work experience places will be created through the Department for Work and Pension’s work experience and sector-based work academies programmes.

Extra support will be given through Jobcentre Plus in the form of weekly, rather than fortnightly, signing-on meetings, more time to talk to an adviser and a National Careers Service interview.

Employers can register their interest in supporting the Youth Contract and can find out more via the DWP website at www.dwp.gov.uk/youth-contract/.

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