B&Q pledges £100,000 of apprenticeship levy fund to help SMEs in Solent area

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

B&Q has pledged to transfer £100,000 of expiring levy funds to the Transfer to Transform scheme, helping small to medium businesses (SMEs) in the Solent area to train new apprentices and upskill workers in the region.  

Transfer to Transform provides the chance for Solent businesses to help support each other, the campaign is not asking for cash or charity, but rather for businesses to pledge some of their unspent apprenticeship levy funding to support small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region.

SMEs are a vital part of Solent’s business ecosystem, so ensuring they can access the skills and training they need to support their recovery from the pandemic is vital. By pledging unspent apprenticeship levy funds to Transfer to Transform, large businesses such as B&Q can cover the costs of apprenticeship training for SMEs, enabling them to take on and train new staff or upskill existing members of their team for the challenges faced ahead.

Pledgers can take an active involvement in the process of selecting SMEs to receive the funding, for example B&Q are funding training for tradespeople roles. The pledge from B&Q is already being well invested with apprenticeships agreed for four small businesses to train a gas engineer, a plumber and two installation maintenance electricians. The pledged funds will be further distributed, and we expect this to fund more trade apprentices.  

B&Q also runs an extensive apprenticeship programme for its colleagues, with 123 colleagues graduating from its retail team leader level three apprenticeship scheme in January this year. It has recently expanded the range of apprenticeship schemes it offers to its colleagues to 28, with ambitions to have over 850 B&Q colleagues taking part in apprenticeships by the end of the year.

Andy Moat, people director B&Q, said: “The Transfer to Transform scheme is an excellent way for employers to work together and ensure that levy funds are used in the best way and it’s a really simple way for big businesses to support their local communities through supporting SMEs. 

“To be able to share our levy fund with SMEs and to help them rebuild through skills and the creation of new opportunities in the area is vital now, more than ever.

“I’d encourage any large business with unspent levy funds to seriously consider how they could use those funds to support SMEs in their local communities.”

Jodi Fair, manager of the Solent Apprenticeship Hub and the Transfer to Transform scheme, said: “To receive the backing of a nationally renowned employer such as B&Q, whose headquarters are located within the Solent region, brings the level of credibility to the initiative that was needed to ensure success.”

As of 25/08/2020 Transfer to Transform currently sits at £850,000 in pledges, all of which will be distributed amongst SME’s across the region and used to upskill staff and develop the individuals enrolling in apprenticeship standards.

For more information on how to pledge to Transfer to Transform visit https://solentapprenticeshiphub.com/transfer-to-transform-supporting-smes-in-the-solent-region-with-skills-training/