A Stafford business staffed almost entirely by apprentices from Stafford College is calling on small businesses across the county to take on a new apprentice this year.

Ninety-five percent of the staff at professional vehicle garage FMS Car and Truck are apprentices from Stafford College. Kyle Hugill, aged 17, is the latest in a long line of recruits and is supported by a £5,000 grant from the Staffordshire Means Back to Business initiative.

Small businesses across Staffordshire can now get up to £5,000 to recruit and support a new apprentice from the scheme – from buying specialist equipment to supporting their wages whilst they learn their trade.

Richard and Kyle

Richard Fraser, owner of the Greyfriars business said: “We’ve been going for about 38 years and we’ve always had apprentices from Stafford College. Apprentices bring such great ideas and vibrancy to the business but the best business advantage is that you get to shape them – teaching them to do things in the way that you want them to be done and in so doing, growing into a great representative of your brand. The grant funding has really helped with the costs of Kyle’s first year and he’s got a job with us at the end of his training, if he continues in the excellent way he’s been working so far.”

Kyle from Castlefields in Stafford said: “I love working here and learning the trade whilst also helping to get everything done. I think when you enjoy your work, it really helps to bring new ideas to a business, as well as a new pair of hands.”

Latest national statistics show that 72% of businesses say that apprentices will be critical to their recovery following Covid-19, with 72% saying they intend to take on at least one this year.

Philip White, Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economic growth and skills, said: “Over 240 apprentices across Staffordshire businesses have been supported with a grant from the unique Staffordshire Means Back to Business so far, which brings together funding from the county council and all the district and borough councils across the county. Just like Kyle, many are thriving and are part of a legacy of how apprentices are the core of small business.”

Councillor Frances Beatty, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Planning at Stafford Borough Council, said the authority had funded more than 30 apprenticeships through their covid ‘Additional Restrictions Grants’ scheme – “Apprentices are good for business and rewarding for any company who is able to give someone the chance to learn and grow within a working environment.

“Today’s apprentices are achievers, thinkers and doers that appreciate that opportunity to learn while they earn and have a very real and long-term impact on business. FMS Car and Truck is an absolute case in point.”

Small businesses across Staffordshire can now explore the menu of practical and financial help available from the Staffordshire Means Back to Business initiative at Staffordshire Means Back to Business Scheme

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