The bottom line is foremost in the minds of employers across the region as the country attempts to navigate out of recession.

The nation is looking to the private sector to create employment and stimulate growth to ease our way back from bust to boom.

The Skills Centre – one of the West Midlands’ leading specialist construction training facilities – understands that costs can be a barrier.

This is why it has announced that it has secured funding to support businesses which sponsor an apprentice.

Under this innovative scheme, the Skills Centre will pay half of their weekly wage for six months – that represents a saving to employers of £60 per week and £1,560 over half a year.

Tim Rymond, manager of The Skills Centre, said: “This is a win-win situation for everyone involved. We’ve got the money here ready and waiting for employers to claim. All they have to do is commit to an apprentice, which is an investment in their business, the wider economy and the future of a young person.”

The Skills Centre is part of whg, which owns and manages around 19,000 homes across Walsall, and has a pool of construction apprentices specialising in either bricklaying, carpentry, electrical, plastering or plumbing which it can match to your business.

Alternatively, if you have an individual in mind it can provide the day release training element to ensure they achieve the qualifications necessary to complete the apprenticeship.

Apprentices learn on the job, building up knowledge, skills and formal work-based qualifications which are directly relevant to the nature of their employment.

Employer Jim Collins, of Jim Collins Building & Cleaning Contractors, is among those to have already felt the benefit of having an apprentice on board.

He said: “I took Mark on through The Skills Centre and can’t recommend it enough. Working with a young person who is enthusiastic to get on and learn the ways of your trade is a great motivator, personally and professionally. It’s a great feeling to pass on my skills to the next generation too.

“This wage subsidy is an added bonus that should be snapped up.”

Employers supporting an apprentice can join The Skills Centre’s quarterly forum meetings, which offer networking opportunities with local, regional and national construction companies.

They can also take advantage of a range of industry training courses delivered at the modern centre, fully equipped with the latest technology and teaching aids, by a team of qualified trainer assessors.

Contact Audrey Clarkson, work-based learning mentor, to find out more about the wage subsidy and for general enquiries about construction apprenticeships. Funds are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

* For more information contact The Skills Centre on 0845 155 0310, email or visit Hollemeadow Avenue, Leamore, Walsall, WS3 1JD