Extra grant to help apprentices

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APPRENTICES are to get a better deal in Bognor Regis.

Councillors have agreed to boost the wages of the young employees to ensure more get taken on.

The Arun District Council cabinet members decided to spend £36,000 of money received to improve enterprise around the town for 24 of the trainees.

This will give their employees £1,500 extra to double the grant which the government hands out under its AGE 16-24 scheme.

The council will work with the Arun Business Partnership and Chichester College.

Miriam Nicholls, Arun’s business development manager, told the cabinet meeting on Monday: “This will stimulate the creation of new apprenticeship opportunities among small businesses in the Bognor area.

“It will also encourage businesses to invest in training their workforce of the future.”

The extra money would match the area’s young people with local high quality and better paid apprenticeships, she said.

The money is coming from £136,000 Arun received from Sainsbury’s in May 2010 as part of the company’s conditions for receiving planning permission for its store on Shripney Road.The money must be used by 2017.

Of the rest of the grant, £50,000 will go to an 18-month programme of Business Start up Saturday run by the University of Chichester.

“These will be open and free events for start up and new businesses where they will be able to hear about the key skills needed for starting a business and the tools that can be used,” said Mrs Nicholls.

A target will be set of 50 businesses attending the Saturdays and ten completing a follow-up intensive course.

The remaining £50,000 will provide grants of £2,000 or less for investment by new businesses. Arun will run the scheme with West Sussex County Council.

Terence Chapman, the cabinet member for environmental services, said: “I very strongly support these recommendations. This is really good news and the money is being put to good use.”