Businesses looking to take on an apprentice are being offered advice and support through Trade Link, a new online initiative launched by Screwfix.

Trade Link offers guidance on how tradespeople can go about hiring an apprentice, as well as explaining how tradespeople can support students aged 16-19 years studying T–Level qualifications, which require industry experience alongside classroom learning.

Customers will be able to read case studies from fellow tradespeople about their experience, explore guidance about recruiting apprentices and see how Screwfix is supporting the future of the trade across its business.

The initiative comes in response to parent group Kingfisher’s research highlighting a shortfall of 166,000 apprentices in the UK, a figure it expects to rise to 250,000 by 2030, by which time the skills gap is estimated to have cost the economy £98billion.

Screwfix CEO John Mewett, said: “It’s vital that we work with the Department for Education, colleges, schools, and our customers to promote careers in the trade to ensure there is a strong pipeline of young talent going into the industry.

We know and understand the complexities of taking on apprentices and our customers can play a key role in protecting the future of the industry. We hope Trade Link is a valuable resource that provides a simple starting point for our customers, who are looking to support the next generation of tradespeople.”

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon added: “Apprenticeships are crucial to giving people from all backgrounds the chance to climb the ladder of opportunity while addressing skills gaps and helping to grow our economy.

 “So, it is brilliant news that Screwfix, one of our Top 100 apprentice employers, is encouraging tradespeople to support the next generation through its new ‘Trade Link’ campaign.

 “Screwfix understands the apprenticeship levy and uses it well. They know the wealth of benefits T Levels and apprentices bring to the industry, and I hope this campaign inspires more businesses to take on apprentices or T Level students of their own.”
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