Helping Reskill the Low Paid in London
ABM has pledged £192,000 of unspent Apprenticeship Levy funding as part of a new initiative with the London Progression Collaboration (LPC) to support small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises with low paid workers.
LPC, an innovative project that supports Londoners with starting high quality apprenticeships, champions progress into work – and from low-paid, low-skilled work into better quality higher-paying jobs – by supporting employers to create apprenticeships.
ABM’s investment, which is a proportion of its Apprenticeship Levy funds accumulated during the Covid-19 pandemic, will be directed at helping businesses in the facilities management, aviation and charity sectors.
Within these sectors, LPC will target underrepresented groups, including NEETs (those Not in Education, Employment, or Training), women in engineering and people experiencing homelessness by providing support and creating Level Two to Four apprenticeships that build skills.
Chris Townsend, senior HR director at ABM UK, explains: “COVID-19 disrupted many things, including our ability to spend our Apprenticeship Levy funds to their fullest extent. Working with the London Progression Collaboration ensures that that money is used effectively.
“We’re delighted to be moving forward with this partnership which will ultimately benefit our industry by creating more diversity and improving skills.”
LPC director, Anna Ambrose, adds: “We’re excited to be working with ABM to put some of their unspent Apprenticeship Levy funds to great use. The last 18 months have been especially challenging for London’s smaller businesses and for many Londoners, including those in low-paid or unstable work.
“It’s by partnering with businesses like ABM that the LPC can continue to create high-quality apprenticeships which benefit the capital’s residents and businesses.”
ABM currently supports 89 apprenticeships, with its apprentices attending 34 Level Two to Seven courses at colleges in the United Kingdom. The company is also processing a further 60 new applications – a figure it expects to rise as more opportunities for maximising funding from the government’s Apprenticeship Levy scheme become available.
The facility services provider’s Junior Engineering Engagement Programme (J.E.E.P.) which launched with the objective of overcoming common misconceptions held by young people and their parents about facilities management in 2017, has now welcomed 450 participants at some 23 schools.
In June 2020, the Social Mobility Commission (an advisory, non-departmental public body sponsored by the UK Cabinet Office), described apprenticeships as “one of the most effective means of boosting social mobility for workers from lower-income backgrounds”.