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Business Engagement In County Durham

Your trusted guide.
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Support to develop workforce

If you’re looking to develop your workforce there are many possibilities, from apprentices and training programmes to interns and postgraduate fellowships.

There are many schemes and training providers who can help you develop your workforce. But it can be confusing knowing who to speak to and understanding what they offer.

With our support, you can identify the best training providers to help you upskill or train your existing employees. And best of all…many of the training schemes are subsidised or free.


As an employer, the way apprenticeships are funded is changing.  From April 2017, larger businesses who have wage bills of over £3m per annum, have to pay something called an ‘Apprenticeship Levy.  If this is likely to affect your business, you can read how this works by clicking here. If you do not pay the levy, you won’t need to use the apprenticeship service to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment until at least 2018. When the government asks you to start using the apprenticeship service to pay for apprenticeship training, they will help you to prepare. Now that  the new funding system has begun, you can choose the training you’d like your apprentices to receive, from an approved training provider. Help with this is available from the National Apprenticeship Service.  They will ask you to make a 10% contribution to the cost of this training and the government will pay the rest (90%), up to the maximum amount of government funding available for that apprenticeship. As both you and the government make a payment, this is called ‘co-investment’.

Every individual apprenticeship framework and standard is allocated to a funding band. The upper limit of the funding band caps the maximum price that government will ‘co-invest’ towards. You will have to meet in full any cost which is above the funding band maximum. You will be asked to pay your contribution directly to the provider and you will be able to spread it over the lifetime of the apprenticeship and agree a payment schedule with the provider. The provider will show government that you have paid your contributions as a condition of the government paying its contribution.


A traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience that is focused on giving young people the skills and experience that employers are looking for.

Traineeships can last up to a maximum of 6 months and will include:

  • work preparation training provided by the training organisation
  • English and maths support if required, provided by the training organisation
  • a high-quality work experience placement with an employer

In addition to these basic elements, you and the training provider can add flexible additional content to meet the needs of your business and the local labour market.

At the end of their traineeship, each young person will be guaranteed a job interview if a role becomes available or an exit interview together with meaningful written feedback to help them secure an apprenticeship or employment with another employer.

If you are interested in finding out more about employing trainees or offering traineeships and the benefits they can bring to a business please contact the National Apprenticeship Service.

For more information, please refer to the employer guide to apprenticeships and traineeships


Workforce training

Durham Employment & Skills, part of Durham County Council, offers accredited, legislative and bespoke development training, to support businesses looking to expand the skills and talents of their new and existing staff.

Courses are accredited to NCFE, City & Guilds and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, and include: health and safety, first aid, business and administration, customer service, mentoring skills, office software and many more. For more information contact Lisa Burke tel 03000 266845 or e-mail DES@durham.gov.uk

Durham Works

Durham Works helps employers recruit young people in to their business and helps them to access up to £5,000 worth of funding, to support them with their recruitment.  Employers are also given help with managing the recruitment process, pre-screening candidates, HR advice and in work support.  Training can be tailored for DurhamWorks young people to ensure they have the skills required to thrive in your business.

Durham Works are working with hundreds of business in County Durham.  Listed below are a few of the reasons why they chose to access the support:

  • Young people are eager to learn and can be shaped to meet your business needs
  • They offer both a short and long-term answer to your skills demands
  • They provide a fresh perspective and new ideas – which could unlock new opportunities or solve age-old problems within your organisation
  • Their enthusiasm at work can be infectious. Studies show that young people can have a tangible effect on staff morale
  • It’s a cost-effective solution to recruitment challenges. DurhamWorks can unlock up to £5,000 of funds towards the cost of taking on a young person
  • Our expertise and support in the selection process ensures you’ll find the exact young talent you need to grow and succeed
  • Training and mentoring ensures that your young employees continue to develop and become increasingly valuable to the business
  • You could have a hand in transforming a young person’s life and giving them the chance they need to fulfil their potential.

For further details regarding Durham Works, please contact the team by completing the form here.

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS)

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.  Employers can sign up themselves for the bronze award.

The ERS is designed primarily to recognise private sector support although public sector organisations such as the emergency services, local authorities, NHS trusts and executive agencies are also eligible to be recognised.

Further information can be found here:




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Contact Us Today

  • Joanne Urquhart-Arnold

    Joanne Urquhart-Arnold

    Business Development Area Manager (East)
    Call 03000 261259

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