A TRAINING provider for apprentices has seen a record number of applications.

Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS), based in Abingdon, has received almost 200 applications from young people looking to join the programme.

Following a screening process and assessment centre, 80 candidates are now in a talent pool ready to be matched with employers.

Now, OAS is seeking new employer partners for this next generation of engineers.

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David Hughes, managing director of training partner MTC Apprenticeships, which manages the OAS apprentice programmes, said: “OAS apprentices are exactly what the industry needs to fill the high tech jobs of the future.

“Our programme produces apprentices capable of rapidly adding value to their employers, and several of our apprentices have gone on to win awards and accolades in recognition of their exceptional skills.”

Oxford Packaging Solutions, an employer partner of OAS, takes on apprentices and views it as a crucial element in the development of its workforce.

Marc Harrison, director of Oxford Packaging Solutions, said: “While we are focused on the here and now, it remains key for us to look to the future.

“It is exciting to work with a provider that is so committed to the individual and I am in no doubt that our apprentices will come out having been trained to the highest level.”

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There are a range of funds and financial incentives for firms that employ an apprentice.

UK employers with a payroll of over £3 million can use their apprenticeship levy to cover training costs, while eligible smaller businesses can access a £1 million fund that has been created through a partnership between OAS, MTC Apprenticeships and Lloyds Bank.

As the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, apprentices are set to be instrumental.

To encourage the creation of new jobs for young people, last month, the Government announced a temporary, six-month bonus of up to £2,000 per learner for employers taking on new apprentices.

According to the latest figures from the National Apprenticeship Service, 75 per cent of employers agreed taking on apprentices lowered their recruitment costs.