A NEW, free apprenticeship and skills training advice service will help benefit businesses in the New Forest.

New Forest District Council has partnered with Solent Business and Skills Solutions to launch the New Forest Apprenticeship and Skills Hub, which provides businesses in the district with free advice about apprenticeships and skills training.

Businesses can contact the hub for guidance about apprenticeship funding options, levy transfers, and hiring processes, as well as how to find suitable providers for training and skills development programmes. Advice and support are available by email, phone, or in person, which is tailored to the needs of the organisation.

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Cllr Derek Tipp, portfolio holder for economy and planning, said: "Employers benefit immensely from apprenticeships; they gain access to a pool of motivated, trained individuals who are eager to contribute to their business.

"In turn, apprenticeships offer individuals the chance to gain valuable skills, higher earning potential and improved life chances.

"We are therefore very pleased to offer this specialist advice tailored to the training and development needs of a specific business.

"I encourage any New Forest business considering taking on an apprentice, or improving the skills of their workforce, to contact the New Forest Apprenticeship and Skills Hub."

Jodi Fair, programme manager at Solent Business and Skills Solutions, said: "We’re really looking forward to seeing the positive impact this partnership will have on local businesses.

"By offering our knowledge and advice, we aim to empower New Forest SMEs to be engaged in the skills landscape to close some of the skills gaps they may currently be experiencing."

Businesses can find out more and contact a New Forest Apprenticeship and Skills advisor at https://solentbusinessandskills.com/new-forest-apprenticeships/