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Business support and advice

Expanding and developing your workforce

The Government are offering a range of funded schemes to support you to grow your business in terms of numbers of employees and skills whilst supporting the recovery of the local economy:

  1. Kickstart

    The Kickstart scheme provides funding for employers to create 6 month placements to help young people (aged 16 -24) who are in receipt of Universal Credit learn work related skills and to get support learning how to apply and interview for jobs.  This scheme was launched for employers to register on 2 September, it is hoped the first placements will commence in November. 

    Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

    • 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
    • associated employer National Insurance contributions
    • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions
    • Every job placement created gets £1,500 funding. This funding is for setup costs and to support the young person to develop their employability skills. Employers can choose to get someone else to do this for them, such as a Kickstart gateway or a service provider. If you choose to do this you will have to agree how to share the £1,500

    Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.

    To find out more information about the scheme and Gateway providers if you will be offering less than 30 placements between now and December 2021, please see Kickstart

    Local providers in South Somerset are

  2. Traineeships

    A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year (although most will last for less than 6 months).

    Traineeships help 16 to 24 year olds - or 25 year olds with an education, health and care (EHC) plan - get ready for an apprenticeship or job if they don’t have the appropriate skills or experience.

    Benefits to employers

    A traineeship:

    • is flexible, can be sector focused and is funded by the government
    • gives your current employees experience in training and mentoring
    • allows you to design a programme that suits both the needs of your business and the needs of the trainee
    • can help you increase capacity and productivity
    • can help you develop a loyal and talented workforce
    • allows you to help tackle youth unemployment
    • is a route into an apprenticeship
    • allows you to get to know and work with young people prior to recruiting apprentices

    Employers who make new work placement opportunities available may also receive an incentive payment of £1000 per learner, for up to 10 learners

    To find out more about Traineeships please see Traineeships

    Somerset Skills and Learning is a local Traineeship provider who can provide Specialist support. 

  3. Apprenticeships

    Apprentices are aged 16 or over and combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job.

    Apprentices can be new or current employees.

    You must pay the apprentice at least the minimum wage.

    Your apprentice must:

    • work with experienced staff
    • learn job-specific skills
    • get time for training or study during their working week (at least 20% of their normal working hours)

    Find out more about Apprenticeships online

    You may like to support to consider which options for growing your employee team is best for your business Skill Up an independent Apprenticeship and Skills Advisory Service can advise you on options, what funding is available and local apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities with training providers.

    Please see the following local apprenticeship providers, who can also provide specialist support:

    Somerset Skills and Learning

    Yeovil College

  4. Free workforce development schemes

    The Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) can support you to create a skilled workforce for your business. Sector-based work academies help prepare those receiving unemployment benefits to apply for jobs in a different area of work. Placements are designed to help meet your immediate and future recruitment needs as well as to recruit a workforce with the right skills to sustain and grow your business. SWAP is administered by Jobcentre Plus

    Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) is a programme developed to upskill employees within small and medium-sized businesses, providing free recognised accredited qualifications to enhance employees skills and increase the competitiveness of your business.

    Skill Up is a funded local skills advisory service who can help you identify the right training for both your business and your employees to aid your business to succeed and grow or diversify.

    Step Up provides a wealth of free information and access to free support to help with recruitment and redundancy, skills growth and diversification, building a talent pipeline and offering industry placements for students.

    Somerset Education Business Partnership help you to build strong partnerships with schools, colleges and training providers in your locality – supporting you to develop a talent pipeline for your business. 

    The Heart of The South West Digital Skills Partnership is in partnership with Coursera to offer free help to learn critical skills to succeed in this digital era.

    Free Courses in England offer accredited programmes, which are designed to complement employers’ existing in-house training provision and improve each learner’s knowledge and skills by assessing their core competencies against national standards.

    Tech Nation Digital Business Academy, are offering free online business courses to help in the high-tech business sector

    Google Digital Garage is providing free digital training & tools to help your business grow stronger.

    Enterprise Nation have partnered with Amazon to offer the Amazon Small Business Accelerator is a major support package for more than 200,000 small businesses to access online training, expert advice and intensive bootcamps. 

    The package includes: 

    • Free e-learning (online training) for new and existing businesses 
    • Intensive bootcamps for 1,000 offline businesses to start selling online quickly 
    • 12 month free membership to Enterprise Nation.
    • A bundle of business offers worth over £2,000.

    To find out more and sign up please visit

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