Local building firm benefits from upskilling grant

A family-run building firm is one of many businesses in Wychavon to benefit from an upskilling grant, which has helped them to recruit two apprentices.

As part of the Wychavon and Malvern Hills Upskilling Project, employers can receive up to £2,000 towards the cost of taking on an apprentice or trainee.

This financial incentive forms part of a range of activities designed to boost skills, help businesses grow and support people into work, using more than £283,000 from the UK Community Renewal Fund.

One of the businesses to take advantage and strengthen their workforce was David Smallcombe Ltd., which specialises in traditional building work around Worcestershire.

The business was set up by David Smallcombe in 1983 and he is proud to be bringing the next generation of talent into the building trade.

"We have been training apprentices for the past 30 years and I find it really rewarding to pass on a skill to someone new," said David.

With the help of two upskilling grants, they hired teenagers Lucas Wem and Brooklyn Taylor as apprentice carpenters in October 2021.

Both were keen to earn money while learning new skills that would set them up for their future careers. They have enjoyed the experience so far.

"It's been really good," said Brooklyn. "We've learned so much already – practical site work, the importance of organisation, how to renovate listed buildings and the process of constructing a new house."

David is pleased with their progress. "These two lads are doing well and are a positive asset to the company," he explained.

"If your business provides training, and you're committed to having a skilled workforce, then you should definitely consider applying for an upskilling grant."

Cllr Mark Ward, Executive Board Member for Economic Growth and Tourism on Wychavon District Council, said: "It's satisfying to see the impact that this project is having on businesses and apprentices across the district.

"If you think your business could benefit from our support, don't miss out. Make sure you apply as soon as possible."

The Upskilling Project has been extended until September but will only continue for as long as funding remains available, so don't delay.

More details about the support on offer to businesses and apprentices, including full terms and conditions, and how to apply, can be found online: www.wychavon.gov.uk/business.
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