Southern Co-op pledges £1.3m for apprenticeship funds

A new pledge from a regional co-operative has led to further funding being available for small, local businesses to boost apprenticeship activity across the Solent, raising the total figure to £1,375,000.

Southern Co-op has become the latest organisation to join a growing list of supporters of the Solent Apprenticeship Hub's ‘Transfer to Transform' initiative.

Transfer to Transform encourages large employers to pledge their unspent levy funds to cover the costs of apprenticeship training for smaller businesses.

Southern Co-op, which operates food, funeral and coffee services across the south of England, has pledged £50,000 to the initiative to boost the regions SMEs and apprentices.

Linda Masterman, Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Southern Co-op, said, 'It's really important that we all come together to support each other as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

'Two years since we started offering apprenticeships, more than 80 of our colleagues have taken up the opportunity so this is a great initiative enabling smaller companies to offer similar benefits to their own employees.'

Southern Co-op is the eighth large employer to pledge support to the Transfer to Transform scheme and join other employers such as B&Q, Utilita, ExxonMobil, Coopervision and more.

Over £1m of the £1,375,000 raised has already distributed to SMEs across the Solent region.

Jodi Fair, Manager of the Apprenticeship Hub, said, 'As we move into spring we will begin to see the easing of lockdown measures nationally and many businesses will be looking to make the most of the upcoming summer season.

'With the restrictions on holidays abroad over the summer months, many Brits will be looking to unwind locally, which could result in higher than ever demand on small businesses across the nation.

'If you expect that there could be a chance of extra strain on your small business over the summer months, why not hire an extra set of hands in an apprentice?'

With the new pledge from Southern Co-op, there is still a large amount of funding available through the Transfer to Transform scheme that can be used by businesses across the Solent region for apprenticeship training.