Skills and employability service, Calico Enterprise has been awarded a share of a £7 million government fund to support the creation of new flexible apprenticeships across the North of England. Calico Enterprise will be working in partnership with Procure Plus, a not-for-profit company that specialises in the procurement of goods and services related to repair and maintenance for a wide range of social housing clients. The funding will enable Calico Enterprise and Procure Plus to employ at least a further 75 apprentices during the funding period.
As part of the Governments new flexi-job apprenticeship offer, the funding will allow the partnership to provide greater support for businesses to make a viable investment in the skills they need to grow and bridge the gap to help more employers reap the rewards of apprenticeships.
Because apprenticeships last at least 12 months, some sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles find it challenging to benefit from the opportunities apprenticeships offer. Flexi-job apprenticeships will allow employers in these sectors to overcome structural barriers and maximise their use of apprenticeships. They will also allow apprentices to work across a range of projects, and with different employers to complete their apprenticeship.
Calico Enterprise and Procure Plus will focus their energies on the retrofit sector and large new build development programmes. Both areas of construction are high value but short term, meaning contractors often struggle to commit to directly employing apprentices. Retrofit programmes will provide apprentices with experience of modern methods of construction and the latest technology in terms of carbon reduction. This experience will mean apprentices are better placed to secure employment in this new and fast-growing sector in the future.
The funding and partnership with Procure Plus will help broaden the scope of Calico Enterprise’s existing shared apprenticeship service, Constructing the Future – taking the total number of roles created through the scheme to well over 100.
In addition to the new apprenticeship positions, the funding will also provide greater access to construction for diverse candidates. Staffing across both partners will also increase with at least 5 new roles to be created through the funding. These roles will actively engage potential apprentices and local employers mentoring both parties to ensure a successful apprenticeship is completed.
“We’re delighted to have been awarded this funding and are excited about the opportunities this will create for young people across the North of England. This additional funding and our partnership with Procure Plus will help us strengthen our shared apprenticeship offer and allow even more employers to experience the clear benefits apprentices bring”.
“The flexijob apprenticeship scheme is a welcome arrival on the apprenticeship landscape. With government initiatives supporting householders in installing carbon reduction measures, there is an increase in the number of opportunities available in this sector, as well as the wider construction industry. The flexijob apprenticeship scheme will enable specialist contractors to benefit from welcoming apprentices into their workforce, and where their specialist work mean the full scope of an apprenticeship cannot be supported, contractors and apprentices have the confidence of the flexijob apprentice scheme which will support a variety of placements to ensure the best experience for all stakeholders.”
Launched in August 2021, the flexi-job apprenticeship offer is part of the Government’s wider objective to make apprenticeships more flexible in response to a rapidly changing work culture. Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said of the scheme, “we want to recognise the challenges of the modern world of work and employment. The work of employers in sectors as diverse as theatre and live music, construction and digital is increasingly flexible and project-based, meaning it can be difficult for them to offer apprenticeships which meet the 12-month minimum duration requirement. However, we share their commitment to making apprenticeships work in their businesses, providing a diverse talent pipeline to meet their emerging skills needs.”