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Indies given new support to offer apprenticeships

Indie retailers are set to be able to offer apprenticeships after Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail have been given support from the National Apprenticeship Service.

Launching this autumn, the Retail Apprenticeship Training Agency (RATA) will provide a simplified way for indies to offer apprenticeships.

Retailers will be able to benefit from the National Apprenticeship Service’s Apprenticeship grants to small and medium sized employers. A sum of £1,500 is being made available to 40,000 small and medium-sized businesses which recruit 16 to 24 year olds.

Anne Seaman, chief executive for Skillsmart Retail said: “The key to this programme is to get local young people into jobs in their local shops. We know there is a strong interest but independent retailers have been put off in the past by the apparent complexity of setting up, or taking on, an apprentice. RATA is being developed to overcome this, designed especially for small retail businesses. We’re delighted to be able to offer a service which is affordable and hassle-free.”

She added: “Independent retailers can offer something unique to apprentices.  The young person will be working closely with owners, learning directly from them about all areas of the business. This mentoring way of working will give apprentices all the retail skills they need to build a career in the sector as well as the business acumen and confidence to think about starting their own business.”

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