Through the work of our wider Employment and Skills Steering Group, we are only too aware of the difficulties that some businesses have experienced in finding individuals with the right skills for their job vacancies.

For a number of years, our team has worked with local training providers to promote and celebrate apprenticeships through delivery of successful campaigns such as the 100 in 100 challenge, Get Somerset Working, and support for an annual awards evening. And we continue to challenge ourselves and our partners to do more, by convening regular meetings of our Apprenticeship and Skills Advisory Group, a partnership group that contributes significantly to delivery of our strategic plan for employment and skills in Somerset.

The Council’s Economic Development Service has also long championed the role of apprenticeships as a workforce development tool for the many and varied businesses operating across the county. And we have commissioned a new Apprenticeship and Skills Advisory Service, Skill-Up Somerset, to ensure that businesses and individuals can access free and impartial information, advice and guidance on apprenticeships.

The SWAAN network is a great way to connect with other partners and employer ambassadors across the South West; to identify common challenges, share best practice and be inspired.

SWMAS Ltd is the South West Manufacturing Advisory Service, and we support programmes on behalf of government, Local Enterprise Partnerships and other public sector funders. Our team of experts has a range of industry experience and technical expertise, from lean manufacturing to product development and we design and deliver programmes to support manufacturers in a variety of ways, from targeting key supply chains like nuclear and off shore wind, to broader services, developing strategy and improving productivity.

We work regionally to develop partnerships that support advanced engineering and manufacturing skills development. We are passionate about apprenticeships and have supported businesses of all sizes with their workforce development strategies, including the support and management of Apprenticeship Levy systems.