Members considered a report from the Senior Growth Officer for the delivery of a Level 3 Engineering Apprenticeship Programme in Gainsborough in partnership with Lincoln College Group and the Made in Gainsborough Engineering Consortium.
The Senior Growth Officer highlighted what would be part of the programme:
· Additional support for the programme had come from Bishop Grosseteste University (BG) and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP);
· The project aimed to primarily attract up to 75 16-18 year olds onto a two year engineering apprenticeship programme over the next three years. Learners would be expected to complete a generic Level 2 qualification, delivered at Gainsborough College as a full-time course. Students would earn a salary of £160 per week;
· Travel costs would be mitigated due to the course being delivered at Gainsborough College;
· The main benefit would be the creation of jobs for young people. Spin off benefits included upskilling and multiskilling existing employees. There would also be job opportunities for unemployed adult learners;
· Siemens had asked to be involved with the group; they had just developed an apprenticeship under the ‘Trailblazer’ project. In addition, Grantham would like to set up a Kesteven project;
· Gainsborough had received 60 applications for apprenticeships. Most of these applicants were young people from Gainsborough and the surrounding areas;
· The funding gap had arisen because WLDC needed to equip Gainsborough College with £155k worth of engineering equipment that they don’t currently have. Gainsborough College had input £80k as a capital contribution, and they would also meet 100% of the revenue costs.
Gainsborough Development Fund had made an offer of £75k for the gap in the funding, which was to go ahead. Terms and conditions were being drawn up. The college would have to apply for this funding through the Gainsborough Growth Fund process;
· The LEP had come forward and were prepared to input up to £29k;
· The employer contribution would meet £8,500 of the salary costs.
Following questions from Members, further information was provided:
· The course would be at Level 2 for the first year, moving onto Level 3 in the second year;
· If WLDC’s input of £75k was not required to be spent then it wouldn’t;
· The £75k would be funded from the business rates retention pilot;
· This was an employer led initiative, and the course was requested by these employers in Gainsborough. The employers were also leading on what qualifications they wanted to see from the course;
Note: Councillor John McNeill declared an interest as he knew socially the current and former Vice-Chancellor at Bishop Grosseteste University.
· WLDC were not expecting to have significant recovery rights on the equipment provided to the College;
(1) support the proposal for officers to seek external funding for the project as a priority;
(2) ring-fence up to £75k of the Investment for Growth Earmarked Reserve and thereby utilise some of the gain from Business Rates to gap fund the project. This will only be utilised should the project be unsuccessful in securing external funds as outlined in 1 above and subject to the project meeting required due diligence outlined within the Gainsborough Growth Fund (GGF) process;
(3) agree to delegate the signing of any funding agreement to the Executive Director of Resources in consultation with the Chair of Corporate Policy and Resources Committee, subject to alignment with the terms in this report.