Grey Star

Apprentices kept jobs through crisis thanks to specialist

A training specialist  in  the Black  Country has helped every single one of its apprentices to keep their jobs throughout  the coronavirus crisis.

The Apprenticeship Works currently has 30 apprentices placed across the West Midlands, and at the height of the pandemic 17 were furloughed while 13 continued working.

As the lockdown begins to lift, another five returned to work, with just 12 still protected by the covernment’s Job Retention Scheme while awaiting restart dates. The apprentices involved are training in a range of skills including business administration, engineering, warehousing and building services design, and are attached to employers who have worked with The Apprenticeship Works for many years.

These include Voestalpine High Performance Metals, of Oldbury and Unions Fasteners, of Wednesbury.

Lisa Kelly, agency manager at The Apprenticeship Works, based in West Bromwich, said many apprentices had progressed faster than expected because of online communications.

She said: “We’re thrilled that all 30 current apprentices have kept their jobs, and many are ahead of where they should be thanks to new ways of working, such as e-learning.

“I was really impressed that all our host employers have treated our appren- tices exactly like any other member of their teams.

“They made efforts to keep apprentices at work for as long as possible and, in certain cases, set up equipment at home for them.

“Even some furloughed apprentices getting 80 per cent of wages from the government have had 20 per cent top-ups from host employers, and all have been assured their apprenticeships will resume after lockdown.”

The Apprenticeships Works is an accredited Apprenticeship Training Agency and Ms Kelly said all her staff worked from home throughout Covid-19 to continue supporting their young people.

She said: “We contacted every apprentice regularly, checking welfare and making sure they were engaging with their training providers, using digital means to provide any information, advice and guidance needed.

“The apprentices have all been positive and have had a good understanding of the situation, showing commitment and wanting to remain at work.”