Countryside pledges £70,000 of apprenticeship funding to small businesses


Throughout the last year, businesses across the capital have been affected by Covid-19, with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) amongst the worst hit. SMEs are a fundamental part of London’s business ecosystem - representing 99% of the UK's business community – and we recognise that ensuring SMEs can access the skills and training needed to economically recover following the pandemic, is vital.

Countryside believes hiring apprentices and providing high-quality training are both crucial to help with the skills shortages the industry is experiencing. As a result, the business has partnered with London Progression Collaboration, pledging £70,000 of apprenticeship levy funds towards it’s Reskilling the Recovery campaign. The campaign looks to bring together large levy-paying businesses with smaller employers to provide much needed funding to the companies, trades and occupations who need it most.

Having raised over £4.5 million of apprenticeship funding, the campaign allows SMEs to not only fill skill gaps within the industry with apprenticeship training for new and existing employees, but it also provides an opportunity for Londoners with little experience to develop key skills to progress in their careers.

On 17 June, Countryside hosted a virtual event for their key stakeholders alongside London Progression Collaboration, to talk about the campaign in more detail and the importance of apprenticeship schemes within the construction industry.

Iain McPherson, Group Chief Executive, Countryside, said, “We’re delighted to partner with London Progression Collaboration - the last year has been a year like no other and to be able to offer a valuable financial lifeline to SMEs, whilst helping alleviate the skills gap in our industry is highly rewarding.

“Our commitment to invest in people remains at the forefront of our business, and we look forward to supporting the creation of apprenticeship opportunities in London.”

Anna Ambrose, Director, The London Progression Collaboration, said, We’re delighted that the London Progression Collaboration is supporting Countryside to transfer apprenticeship levy funds to small employers in London, as part of our Reskilling the Recovery campaign.

“The Apprenticeship Hub will be a great opportunity for large employers and SMEs to find out about how levy transfer can address skills shortages within the built environment sector, and help people build the skills they need to progress in work.”

Raj Manak, Managing Director, Stanmore Contractors, added, “We are pleased to be collaborating with the Countryside Apprenticeship Hub as we believe this is an excellent opportunity to upskill and hire apprentices within the Construction industry.

“We are in the process of setting up an internal off-site training centre and will be looking to recruit 60 apprentices within our organisation in the next year. We have a dedicated team to help give people the opportunity to progress in their chosen career.”

Lee Marley, Founder, Lee Marley Brickwork Limited, commented, “It was great to be invited to attend such an event that promotes apprenticeships. It allows Countryside’s supply chain contractors an additional opportunity to invest in further apprenticeships utilising the £70,000 that Countryside has pledged to the LPC through the London Apprentice Levy Transfer Service.

This opportunity will be very beneficial to Lee Marley Brickwork, as we currently have over 50 apprenticeships, and being able to utilise the levy, will allow us to take on more apprentices to support the future of the industry.”