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Removing Barriers to Apprenticeships

Removing Barriers to Apprenticeships

Greater Manchester’s apprenticeship ambition sets out how we want to increase the number of high quality apprenticeships available to our residents.  To realise this ambition we must push the boundaries of what is being delivered to ensure that all our residents can benefit from the opportunities available.  

Apprenticeship numbers have continued to drop following government reforms. We are still seeing disparity and under-representation between different genders, cultures, ages and disabilities in different sectors and across the apprenticeship workforce as a whole.

To help tackle this disparity, the Removing Barriers to Apprenticeships (RBA) programme was created in 2020 to help underrepresented groups to access apprenticeships, and a call for proposals was issued. A total of £328,000 was awarded to local organisations to assist them in attracting, recruiting and supporting new apprentices while on the programme.

The seven projects to have received funding include:

  • Men in the Early Years – A collaboration between Kids Planet nursery provider and the Fatherhood Institute offering 12 apprenticeship placements for men
  • BAME Engineers – A total of 20 pre-apprenticeship places and 10 apprenticeships for BAME young people to learn engineering skills in Rochdale
  • SCC Supported Apprenticeships – Salford City Council, Salford City College, ForHousing and Career Connect will created 10 supported apprenticeships for young SEND learners
  • Single Parent TA’s – Rochdale Training, Rochdale Borough Council, Positive Steps and Job Centre Plus are created Teaching Assistant apprenticeship placements for single parents
  • Digital Supported Apprenticeship – The White Room, Total People, Manchester City Council and Pure Innovations developed placements in the digital sector for SEND young people
  • Oldham 16-25 year olds – Oldham Council, Northern Care Alliance and Positive Steps offering 10 placements to young people with additional barriers to employment
  • Coldhurst Ward, Oldham – Single parents, people from ethnic minorities and those with mental health conditions living in the Coldhurst ward offered placements in Healthcare Assistant and Business Administration roles

The seven projects took place between 2020 and 2022, and a total of 147 learners across Greater Manchester took part in the scheme, with 31 people have starting on an apprenticeship. The RBA programme was evaluated by an external partner - Little Lion Research - to establish what techniques are most effective in helping underrepresented groups to access apprenticeships, and what other positive outcomes were achieved.

Read the full report here: Evaluation of the Removing Barriers to Apprenticeships Programme (Word, 990KB)

We will use what we have learned through the RBA programme to inform our future work on improving access to apprenticeships and to target our activity so that it has the biggest impact for Greater Manchester.

If you would like to find more about the Removing Barriers to Apprenticeship programme or about improving access to apprenticeships in Greater Manchester, please contact