New Solent pilot scheme helps create new and much-needed trade apprenticeships

Apprentice working on toolbench

New Solent pilot scheme helps create new and much-needed trade apprenticeships

The Solent is one of two UK regions participating in a new pilot programme aiming to connect those seeking apprenticeships with trades businesses.

Insights from Portsmouth-based Checkatrade show government funding and local support is key to helping trades businesses in the region take on apprentices.

The HomeServe Foundation, the official charity of HomeServe plc, has joined forces with The Solent Apprenticeship Hub to launch a new pilot scheme to connect would-be apprentices with small trades businesses in Hampshire and Surrey to grow trades skills in the region.

The Solent area is one of two UK region’s identified as a hotbed for potential growth in trades skills, and the new pilot programme is live now and offering trades businesses and people currently out of work free, independent advice and support, plus access to Government apprenticeship incentive funding of up to £4,000. This extra Government incentive will end by 31st January 2022.

Insights from Portsmouth-based Checkatrade showed that 68 per cent of trades businesses would be more likely to hire an apprentice if support funding like this was available.

The Government incentive funding is currently only available until September 2021, which is why the HomeServe Foundation and Solent Apprenticeship Hub is now actively seeking to reach out to job seekers and small trades businesses across Hampshire and Surrey.

“We want to make the whole process of taking on apprentices simpler than ever for trades businesses in the Solent region,” said Helen Booth, director of the HomeServe Foundation. “This pilot is helping to remove the red tape and complexity from doing that, whilst also pointing trades businesses towards grant funding to help fund the costs, currently available until September.

‘The funding available for apprenticeships now offers an amazing chance to help tackle, amongst other things, the unemployment challenges this region faces, whilst helping small trades businesses grow on the wave of huge demand for home repairs and improvements.”

More information is available at

The HomeServe Foundation’s Trades Skills Index recently found that 1.25million construction jobs are required to meet demand before 2030, meaning the country must create 300,000 new apprenticeships, with 228,000 of those needed in key trades like electrics, joinery and plumbing.

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Flexi-job apprenticeship will allow agencies to be the apprentice’s employer for the duration of their apprenticeship while placing the apprentice with other host employers for short term placements. This will enable apprentices to move between businesses as they complete their apprenticeship, while remaining employed throughout by the agency.

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PAYE is HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) system to collect Income Tax and National Insurance from employment. More information are available here