£4m skills fund is supporting business recovery from Covid-19

Date published: 11 August 2020

Businesses in Greater Manchester are being invited to make use of funding available for apprenticeship training as part of a package of support to recover from Covid-19.

A pot of nearly £4m is currently available in the city region to pay training fees - at no cost to the employing organisation.

The Greater Manchester apprenticeship levy matchmaking service is a scheme to transfer the unspent millions of pounds allocated for apprenticeship training from large employers to small and medium sized businesses.

Organisations that have a payroll over £3 million are required to pay the apprenticeship levy to fund apprenticeships, either in their organisation or another. Up to 25% of an organisation's unspent funds per annum can be allocated to help smaller companies by using the levy matchmaking service.

The Greater Manchester apprenticeship levy matchmaking service has supported more than 240 apprenticeships, spread across more than 50 businesses, since it was launched in August 2019.

Since it was launched in August 2019, the apprenticeship levy matchmaking service has:

  • had around £4m in funds committed to it
  • seen 130 apprenticeship starts
  • matched a further 116 apprentices in training, due to start in the coming months
  • committed levy funds of nearly £2.5 million to pay for apprenticeship training
  • signed up 25 companies as levy donors, including household names such as Lloyds Banking Group, Co-op, the BBC, Compass Group and Timpson
  • signed up more than 200 small and medium sized businesses, of which more than 50 are currently benefiting from matched funding


RIBI Young Chef District winner Keiron McCormack at Hopwood Hall College


Staff being trained through apprenticeships include:

  • health care workers
  • social workers
  • nurses
  • firefighters
  • chefs, waiters, kitchen staff and front of house staff
  • accountants
  • engineers
  • software developers
  • digital marketers
  • content producers
  • business administrators
  • managers

Councillor Sean Fielding, Greater Manchester lead for employment, skills and digital, said: “Improving the skills of our workforce is absolutely essential to the success of Greater Manchester’s economy.

“Apprenticeships build higher level and technical skills both for young people and for existing and older employees, helping them to become more productive and efficient.

“The levy matchmaking service provides the funding for the apprenticeship training at no cost to the employer and it also helps to develop great relationships between big companies and the smaller organisations they support in this way.

“Our digital service in Greater Manchester is supported by a team that brokers and develops relationships between those companies and which helps to support small and medium sized businesses to grow.

“A great deal has been achieved in our first year, but there is much more money available in the fund and I would urge organisations that are looking to upskill their staff or take on new recruits to consider this as an option.”

The Greater Manchester apprenticeship levy matchmaking service is commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and is provided by the Manufacturing Institute, part of the Growth Company.

Organisations interested in benefitting from the apprenticeship levy matchmaking service can register online: 

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