Numerous businesses and organizations throughout the borough are receiving support to hire apprentices as part of a prestigious scheme by Wigan Council. The Future Apprentices for Business (FAB) program, which is celebrating its first anniversary this week, has allocated over £250k to firms. The scheme, which was introduced during last year’s National Apprenticeship Week, is still accepting applications and offers grants of either £3k or £5k. Over the past year, 68 businesses have had their applications approved, resulting in nearly 40 apprentices starting their new roles, with many more set to begin soon. Councillor David Molyneux MBE, Leader of Wigan Council, expressed the importance of apprenticeships and opportunities for young people, emphasizing the value they bring. The FAB program provides grant funding to businesses looking to employ apprentices, allowing them to build their workforce and assist young individuals in embarking on a career path while earning an income. Councillor Molyneux encouraged those considering apprenticeships to reach out to the team and explore the support they can provide. Apprenticeships not only help businesses cultivate their own talent and develop skills for the future, but also create much-needed employment opportunities and training for younger individuals. The FAB program is available to businesses in the Wigan borough with fewer than 250 employees who are looking to establish a new apprenticeship and recruit individuals aged 16-24 residing in the borough, while ensuring they receive the National Minimum Wage for their age. One organization that has benefited from the scheme is Embrace Wigan & Leigh, a charity that supports disabled individuals and their families. Community manager Kate Spragg shared the positive experience of having an apprentice at Embrace, highlighting the growth and development they have witnessed during their time there. The support received through the FAB scheme has been exceptional, encouraging others to consider taking on apprentices. Wigan Council is using National Apprenticeship Week (February 5 to 11) to showcase its extensive support for apprenticeships, both within the council itself and across the wider borough. Councillor Molyneux expressed his delight in enabling businesses to foster apprenticeships and proudly stated that Wigan Council was recognized as a top 100 apprenticeship employer in 2023, making it the only council in the country to receive such recognition. He also mentioned that the council surpassed its target of creating 100 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs within the town hall in 2021, pledging to create another 100 over the next three years. Apprentices add significant value to the council’s workforce and its overall operations, and having their work in developing apprenticeships endorsed nationally is a great achievement. Businesses interested in learning more can visit the Future Apprentices for Business grants program.