Santander and the LEP announce £1 million partnership to support apprenticeships in Leeds City Region

Santander has pledged £1million to support small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the Leeds City Region with new apprenticeship programmes over the next two years.

In partnership with Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP), Santander will transfer part of its Apprenticeship Levy Fund to local SMEs to fund the recruitment and training of apprentices predominantly in the care sector, as well as to support businesses looking to build digital skill sets within their companies.

The commitment through the government backed Apprenticeship Levy scheme ensures that unspent levy goes towards supporting businesses to fund their own apprenticeship programmes where they may not have previously been able to benefit from the apprenticeship levy. The new schemes will not only cover the costs of recruitment and training of apprentices to enable businesses to thrive but will also ensure investment is made into creating career developing opportunities for many within the local area.

Nathan Bostock, Santander UK’s CEO said: “The region’s SMEs have had an incredibly challenging year, but they are vital to the future of the local economy and employment. By committing apprenticeship levy funds in this way, we want to enable local businesses to benefit from new skills and talent which will help them to boost their productivity and recover as quickly as possible from the pandemic. It is just another way in which we are helping businesses, now more than ever, to prosper.”

Roger Marsh, OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the NP11, said:“It is great to see a major high street bank like Santander transferring their unused apprenticeship levy funding to help apprentices within the Leeds City Region. 

“Levy-paying businesses play a key role in supporting apprenticeships across the region and help to give people the opportunity to gain valuable skills. Using unspent levy funds to cover 100% of training costs for local businesses will lead to long-term benefits for multiple industries, as it will increase skills across sectors and support the future workforce. This will be important to our region’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring our economy works for everyone.”

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan said: “Santander’s pledge to support small and medium businesses by transferring part of their levy funds will enable more people to benefit from an apprenticeship as we build back better from the pandemic. It’s fantastic that the majority of those supported by this funding will be in the local care sector.

“Apprenticeships are a great way for employers of all sizes to get access to the talent they need to thrive, while also creating new exciting career opportunities for local communities.”

The transfer of funds of £500,000 per year over two years will go towards over 100 level two and level three apprenticeship programmes across the care sector and several digital technology level four, level five and level six apprenticeships for SMEs in various other industries. Together with the LEP, Santander will also explore new hybrid care sector apprenticeships encompassing the development of digital skills within the sector which are vital for the future.

The LEP will support the new apprenticeships programmes by sourcing training providers with expertise to deliver the appropriate standard as well as managing applications from SMEs across the Leeds City region including areas such as Bradford and Wakefield.