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Oxfordshire’s first Apprenticeship Training Agency approved

The Apprenticeship & Training Company Ltd has completed the formal ‘recognition’ process with the Skills Funding Agency to be part of a national list of ‘approved’ Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs).

It was set up on behalf of Cherwell District Council, whose Bicester Delivery Team was successful in bidding for a development grant from the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) to support the establishment of the ATA.

What is an Apprenticeship Training Agency?

An ATA recruits, employs and arranges training for Apprentices on behalf of employers. Apprentices are employed by the ATA, which then places them with a host employer. This means that businesses who would like to employ an Apprentice but may not currently have enough work for a full time Apprentice can still offer placements. Apprentices can share their time between different employers, giving them the opportunity to learn the full range of skills required for their Apprenticeship. Host employers pay a fee to the ATA for the services and support provided, which give a secure and flexible approach to Apprenticeships for both employer and Apprentice.

Focus on construction

Oxfordshire Apprenticeships founder Paddy Patterson is the interim director of The Apprenticeship & Training Company Ltd. He said: “We are delighted to have secured formal approval to operate a shared-Apprentice service.”

“The construction industry hasn’t been taking on the number of Apprentices it needs and I believe our ATA will provide a valuable solution for developers and contractors and ensure major developments in the area are able to provide essential employment and training opportunities for local people.”

The initial focus of the ATA will be the construction sector, which is experiencing a severe skills shortage, including a national shortfall in the number of Apprenticeships being created annually.

In Oxfordshire, the number of construction Apprenticeships fell in the three years to 2013/14 and while provisional figures indicate a slight increase in 2014/15, the proportion of new ‘starts’ in the industry continues to decline and accounts for just 4.1 per cent of all Apprenticeships in the county.

North West Bicester

In particular, the ATA will support employment and skills plans for the North West Bicester site, which will deliver 6,000 true zero carbon homes and other mixed-use development.

The ATA will work with local training providers and construction contractors to provide employment and training to a target number of 300 construction Apprentices over this period to help deliver the new homes.

Get involved!

The Apprenticeship & Training Company Ltd is actively looking to recruit volunteers from the community and industry to form a new board to oversee the organisation. See http://ow.ly/10b0Yx for details.

For more information email info@apprenticeshiptrainingcompany.org.uk.

Keep up with latest news and developments on Twitter @apprenticetrain and Facebook.