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Work and Skills

Celebration of 1,000 apprenticeship opportunities in Greater Manchester

More than £10 million has been transferred through The Greater Manchester Levy Matchmaking service since it was launched in August 2019. Over 1,000 apprenticeships opportunities in small and medium sized enterprises would not have been made possible without this money and the help of this ground- breaking scheme.

The Greater Manchester Levy Matchmaking Service helps smaller employers to benefit from fully funded apprenticeship training by connecting them with large employers which have funding to share.

The Apprenticeship Levy means large employers are required to pay a percentage of their annual salary bill into funding apprenticeship training. If they cannot spend the money themselves, they can transfer up to 25 percent of the amount to other employers looking to train apprentices.

The Greater Manchester Levy Matchmaking Service helps facilitates this transfer and connect larger employers to smaller employers (who don’t pay an apprenticeship levy) so that they are able to fund apprenticeship training in their organisations.

Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, Greater Manchester Portfolio Lead for Education Work and Skills, said: “Apprenticeships are a hugely important part of our vision for making Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old.

“We have to ensure that everyone can access the very best career and training opportunities, across a broad spectrum of industries, right here in Greater Manchester.

“That’s exactly why we set up the Levy Matchmaking Service, so we could make sure that every pound available is invested in creating the right opportunities for people and businesses alike.

“It’s a great milestone to have been able to create 1,000 apprenticeship opportunities and enable the investment of £10m in training over the past three and a half years. These are jobs and training successes that wouldn’t have been possible without the good work of the Levy Matchmaking Service.”

Among the apprentices and businesses that have benefited from The Greater Manchester Levy Matchmaking Service are Firstplay Dietary Foods and Rite Directions.

Tom Fletcher, managing director of Firstplay Dietary Foods in Stockport said: “The Greater Manchester Levy Matchmaking Service really helped me convince the board here that an apprentice was the best option for us. It has taken the pressure off us as a smaller employer to continue Sadia’s apprenticeship onto the next level.”

Sadia Naseem, aged 29, is undertaking a level 3 AAT accounts assistant apprenticeship in accounting and finance while working at Firstplay Dietary Foods in Stockport. She adds: “I’ve gained confidence and experience, as I’ve taken on more tasks and responsibilities. This has helped me to become an integral part of our team, where my input is valued.

"Studying whilst working can be a challenge, trying to balance the two, but if you’re prepared to make the effort it will be a great experience.”

Joe Webster, Business Development Manager from Rite Directions said: “If you need qualified staff or would benefit from the additional training and knowledge that employees gain through doing an apprenticeship, I cannot recommend this service enough.The support we have received and the funding they have secured for us has been hugely beneficial.”

Darrell Beck, aged 55, is undertaking a level 4 apprenticeship as a Children, Young people and Families Practitioner whilst working at Rite Directions young people’s services. He adds: “The apprenticeship has provided me with essential knowledge and skills that I use on a regular basis and has made me a more effective support worker.

“I would definitely advise anyone who is considering the apprenticeship to jump at the opportunity! I hope to complete my apprenticeship, carry on developing the knowledge and skills that I’ve gained and to progress into a senior support worker role.”

Small employers can register online to receive support finding a donor to cover 100% of the costs of apprenticeship training.

All employers will have to cover the salary costs and other costs of employing the apprentice.

The Greater Manchester Levy Matchmaking Service is managed by The Growth Company on behalf of Greater Manchester Combined Authority. To find out more and register to use the service, please visit: GM Levy Matchmaking Service (

Skills for Growth also offer wider practical support for small and medium sized employers to offer apprenticeships through the fully funded Apprenticeship Specialist at Skills for Growth SME Support.

Article Published: 14/12/2022 10:23 AM