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New measures provide even greater incentives to take on a fork truck engineering apprentice

Fork lift truck companies employing up to 50 people have been given a fresh financial incentive to take on an apprentice in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. In addition to the existing grant of £1500, from 1st April employers will no longer be required to pay National Insurance contributions for apprentices under 25 years of age.

Alongside this announcement, the two bodies responsible for apprentice training in the fork truck industry have advised that additional money is still available through the industry’s FLAT Fund.

The FLAT (Fork Lift Apprentices Trust) Fund was set up by the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) and the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) as one of their joint initiatives to encourage more young people into the industry. Limited funds can be used to help SMEs recover travel and accommodation costs and application can be made to the FLTA at any time.

“We hope that this will encourage employers to enrol a young person in the next intake of fork lift apprentices which will commence in the New Year” said Trust Chairman John Chappell.

“Engineers are the lifeblood of our industry but, with an aging workforce, this vital resource is leaving faster than we can replace them… making it hard for employers to find affordable replacements. As so many companies have found, one very effective answer is to ‘grow your own’.”

Apprenticeship numbers have been boosted recently by another joint venture between BITA and the FLTA – in which a single national apprenticeship scheme has been created to consolidate training activities.

The partners are continuing to spread the message that apprenticeships are both affordable and profitable, as John Chappell explains: “Smaller firms in particular may be wary of spending money on apprentices, but with the FLAT Fund and a streamlined training scheme we have removed the barriers to benefiting from young talent.

“It has been well established that the costs of an apprenticeship are soon recouped through the contribution that trainees make. In the short term, they provide an extra pair of hands and, in the longer term, if nurtured, they develop into highly capable and very loyal employees.”

This view is backed by statistics from the Learning and Skills Council, which says that 74% of companies who employ apprentices find that they stay longer than other staff, and from the National Apprenticeship Service, which has found that 92% of those employers believe apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.

For more information – including details of how to apply – visit www.fork-truck.org.uk, email accounts@fork-truck.org.uk or phone 01635 277577

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