Solent’s businesses are set to power their way through the COVID-19 economic blues through a radical campaign to boost apprenticeship activity across the region.

Led by the Solent Apprenticeship Hub, Transfer to Transform, will encourage large employers to pledge their unspent levy funds to cover the costs of apprenticeship training for smaller businesses.

This spirit of entrepreneurship and sense of community amongst the region’s businesses is crucial at a time when many businesses are in need of a boost to better their survival and growth prospects, thus improving the skills, competitiveness and productivity of the region’s talent pool.

Through this campaign, Transfer to Transform will tap into the estimated £400m of unspent levy funds from approximately 5000 employers nationally in order to channel that through to the region’s businesses. The Solent Apprenticeship Hub team will approach Solent-based large employers to facilitate transfer of their levy funds to support apprenticeship provision for smaller businesses. This free, impartial service to businesses also includes ongoing advice and guidance on skills solutions, B2B networking and wider support on skills solutions to boost business growth.

Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, Councillor Paffey remarked: “Through Transfer to Transform we expect to see a much needed boost to apprenticeship provision across the region, and this will strengthen the ‘bounce back’ of our businesses after lockdown. It makes absolute sense to ensure that apprenticeship levy funds go straight to building up our local businesses and apprentices, because if the funds are not spent they’ll disappear back into central government. Instead, we want to work together to add real value to the region’s businesses and its talent pool.

“There are a number of major employers across the Solent who are in a position to commit, as well as those who have admirably already stepped up so quickly. I commend every employer that has supported the campaign to date. As lead partner for the Solent Apprenticeship Hub, Southampton City Council is proud to back this campaign and make it the success that it can be.

“The £400k already pledged by leading large employers in the region is the right tonic needed to help our economy overcome the effects of COVID-19.”