Posted on:
6th March, 2019

Marches LEP to plug skills gap with recruitment of 3,000 apprentices

The Marches LEP is working with businesses across the region to drive-up sector specific skills through the recruitment of 3,000 apprentices.

Marches LEP to plug skills gap with recruitment of 3,000 apprentices

During National Apprenticeship Week it is urging more employers to get involved with projects to ensure skilled and flexible workforces across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

To date, it has invested £5.7 million in a range of projects to increase the number of apprenticeships across the region.

And by 2021 it aims to have delivered more than 3,000 new apprenticeship starts across the Marches with investment through the Growth Deal.

Gill Hamer, Marches LEP director, said apprenticeship schemes offered multiple benefits to businesses but in particular they played a significant role in enhancing sector-specific skills.

“Apprenticeships are an excellent way for businesses to fill skills gaps within their workforce and maintain their competitive edge.

“For the last 18 months we, alongside key partners, have been working with companies across various sectors to increase apprentices in the workplace and all have seen positive results and a significant return on investment.

“For business owners, the mix of on-site and off-site work and training undertaken by apprentices means their workforce is developing the skills that work best for their business.

“It’s a very cost-effective way to boost productivity and efficiency within a business but can also help businesses to develop a more flexible and diverse workforce.”

Shropshire-based manufacturing company Grainger & Worrall is one of a number of employers which is heavily invested in the development of apprentices and the benefits they can bring to business.

In partnership with the Marches LEP, Classic Motor Cars, Salop Design and Engineering and In-Comm Training, it supports apprenticeship opportunities on an annual basis through the Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology CIC (MCMT) based in Bridgnorth.

Together they are also tackling ongoing challenges surrounding the recruitment of females into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) apprenticeships.

Ella Jones, who is the second year of her apprenticeship in Technical Support with Grainger & Worral, said she would highly recommend the apprenticeship route for those looking to pursue a STEM career.

She said: “It’s brilliant. I get to work with a really good group of people, led by experts, and the training to work ratio means I can see how the academic side relates to actual projects.”

You can learn more about the Marches LEP at and contact the LEP by emailing


For more information please contact Amy Bould or Lorna McCann on 01952 898121 or email or

Notes to Editors


Projects currently being funded by the Marches LEP to increase apprenticeship placements in advanced manufacturing include:

Hereford Group Training Association (HGTA)

Investment - £83,267

A project to transform the Centre for Vocational Excellence for Engineering in Hereford by acquiring more up-to-date equipment. The project will increase provision for advanced apprenticeships and mature workforce qualifications.

Hereford and Ludlow College

Investment - £197,400

This project will fit out the new land based and vehicle engineering workshop at the Holme Lacy Campus to increase facilities for welding and fabrication, modern computer linked engineering equipment and agricultural machinery for teaching purposes.

SBC Training

Investment - £50,000

A project to create a new engineering and manufacturing training centre in Shrewsbury to provide access to modern industrial standard machinery and equipment and will be directed specifically at the advanced manufacturing sector.

Marches Centre of Manufacturing & Technology CIC

Investment - £1,922,095

A project to develop an Advanced Manufacturing Hub, regional training centre in Bridgnorth alongside partners Grainger and Worrall, Classic Motor Cars, Salop Design and Engineering and In-Comm Training.

Hereford and Ludlow College/ HGTA

Investment - £464,763

A project to develop a centre for engineering and manufacturing in Hereford to support local industries to move to higher skilled automated processes by providing in service training

Shrewsbury Colleges Group

Investment - £425,166

A project to develop the Shropshire Advanced Manufacturing Skills Hub. Shrewsbury College is working in alliance with Caterpillar, Staffordshire University and Fest to increase the higher education offer to include full degrees, bespoke training to engineering companies and training for apprentices.

Projects currently being funded by the Marches LEP to increase apprenticeship placements in IT include:

Derwen College

Investment - £315,000

Improved IT infrastructure to develop digital resources assisting young people in the workplace. The project is supporting employers where they need to make adjustments in their workplace for learners with different abilities.

Herefordshire & Ludlow College

Investment - £1,059,905

Development of historic buildings at the Holme Lacy Campus to form the Rural Enterprise Centre incorporating start-up business incubator units. The business incubator units will provide excellent progression from training to entrepreneurship and work in conjunction with the nearby Enterprise Zone.

North Shropshire College

Investment - £423,833

Investment in IT infrastructure and IT learning resources to meet NSC’s Digital Strategy, modernising the curriculum to the changing skills and qualifications needs of the Marches employers and better access to learning through the use of technology.

Shrewsbury Colleges Group

Investment - £209,079

Investment to bring the latest technological advances to its teaching of construction, built environment and digital media at both apprenticeship and HE levels.

Telford College

Investment - £520,326

A project which will see the development and installation of virtual reality and augmented reality technology in multimedia suites at the college, allowing specialised hi-tech 3D education and training to be delivered.