Seventy-five jobs are set to be created in the Sheffield City Region (SCR) drive to radically improve workforce skills across the region as it helps a global Doncaster business to become an established world leader in the training field.
The Highfield Group – which is one of the top five organisations of its type in the UK and won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2016 – has been awarded a Business Investment Fund grant by the SCR to create new learning materials for apprentices.
Highfield specialises in assessing, awarding and accrediting learning in a wide range of vocational subjects. Working with governments, colleges, councils, and training providers, it delivers approximately 300,000 qualifications annually.
It is the lead developer for the curriculum qualifications at the National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster, which the SCR has also supported through its Growth Fund.
And seeing the opportunity offered by the new apprenticeship levy, which has made it compulsory for larger companies to invest in apprenticeship training, Highfield has used the SCR grant to produce ‘Apprenti-kits’ – e-learning kits for trainees.
The kits will be used by apprentices in retail, hospitality, aviation, transport and customer service, and training providers – training companies, colleges, or larger businesses running in-house schemes.
Managing director Chris Sprenger said: “This City Region grant means we can establish Highfield as the market leader for programme resources. The ‘new world’ apprenticeships are a fantastic mechanism for helping to ensure our future workforce are highly skilled.
“We have an amazing opportunity to widen the range of subjects we offer, and we as a company are ourselves putting 20 people through apprenticeships in management, design, IT, team leading and warehousing.
“Everything would have been slower without the help we received from the City Region and the grant.”
Highfield Group is a family business founded in 1982, and now includes MD Chris and brother, Jason, the Highfield Group’s chief executive. They worked with the SCR’s advisors, including Steve Carroll, and Business Doncaster key account manager Sue Harrison, to shape the new products and obtain the grant.
Seen in the picture are Chris Sprenger, Jayne Sprenger, Jason Sprenger, Rebecca Sprenger, and Richard Sprenger
- The Government has an agenda to meet a target of 3 million new apprentices by 2020. All large employers must pay into the levy and the funds must be used to fund apprentice training with programmes starting in 2018.
- SCR funding comes from the Government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF) which, by 2021, will have invested £12bn in 38 LEP areas across the country.