Macclesfield College is launching a campaign to help businesses bounce back from the impact of the pandemic by utilising the extended government incentive of up to £4,000 to recruit an apprentice and build capacity for recovery.

Backed by the Local Economic Partnership (LEP), the North Cheshire Chamber of Commerce: Restart, Recover, Regain aims to support businesses to build capacity in their business, boost productivity and bring fresh ideas through an apprenticeship.

In the past three months the college has seen a 300% percent increase in apprenticeship vacancies and now has a talent pool of more than 250 active candidates. Growth has been strongest in the engineering and construction sectors.

Principal and chief executive of Macclesfield College, Rachel Kay explains: “We enjoy a strong relationship with our business community and the last 12 months has hit hard so we wanted to support the recovery and growth across Cheshire.

“A survey by the National Apprenticeship Service found that 78% of employers felt hiring an apprentice boosted productivity and 77% believed it made them more competitive. We’ve seen an increase in enquiries with employers wanting to build the not only the technical skills but also leadership and management abilities in their businesses, supporting employees with higher and degree level apprenticeships.

“This campaign is designed to give businesses the confidence that hiring an apprentice can be part of their recovery plan. Our Maxim team is experienced at supporting both SMEs and large corporates through the process and will match the right candidate and course to fit the needs of the business.”

Sue Bowden from the North Cheshire Chamber adds: “We’re delighted to be part of the Restart, Regain and Recover campaign and will continue to support those local businesses that have struggled as a result of COVID-19. As a Chamber, we’ve been there every step of the way and will continue to help our members as they navigate recovery. Apprenticeships are a great way to bring fresh thinking into a business, embed staff into company culture and deliver a competitive edge and we hope local companies will take advantage as we continue along the roadmap to recovery.”