Asda to donate £300,000 to local apprenticeship schemes in Leeds City Region

Small businesses in the Leeds City Region are to get a £300,000 cash injection from Asda to help fund 60 apprenticeships in the area.

Twinkles Nurseries, which has six nurseries in the area, is already benefitting.

Apprenticeship Levy is paid by large businesses and as part of that proposal, Asda has opted to transfer a portion of its annual funds to pay for apprentices to train in small businesses within local communities, giving people the opportunity to develop new skills. The scheme will also enable small businesses to develop talent that they may otherwise not be able to afford.

Asda is working with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which is helping to distribute an initial £300,000 to local businesses in its area.

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The money is already starting to make a difference with Twinkles Nurseries, which has six nurseries in the area, already benefitting.

Twinkles' managing director, Jill Johnson, said: “A great big thank you for assisting Twinkles Nurseries to fund further training for a number of our team.

"The levy transfer award is helping us to ensure that many of our team members are given the opportunity to carry out formal qualifications which would have not been possible without this assistance.

“Our nurseries in the city centre of Leeds are very close to the Asda headquarters so many local children will benefit from the increased knowledge and understanding gained from this training.”

Asda’s chief people officer, Hayley Tatum, said: “We understand how vital apprenticeships are to companies big and small – providing opportunities for growth and also for young people to gain employment and vital new skills.

“Throughout the pandemic we have done all we can to support our local communities – not just as a supermarket, but as a large business with the ability to have a real impact in the communities we serve. We understand that now, more than ever small businesses and people in our communities need support due to the scale of the economic and social impacts of Covid-19. We are delighted with how our own apprenticeship scheme is progressing and we are excited to see the positive impacts this investment will have.”

Asda currently has over 1,000 of its own colleagues on an apprenticeship across every area of its business and every job level from hourly colleagues up to senior director level.

Roger Marsh, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the NP11, said: “It is great to see a major supermarket chain like Asda, committing to transferring their unused apprenticeship levy funding to help apprentices within the Leeds City Region.

“Levy-paying businesses play a key role in supporting apprenticeships across the region and help to give people the opportunity to gain valuable skills and training. Using unspent levy funds to cover 100 per cent of training costs for local businesses will increase skills across sectors and support our future workforce while providing long-term benefits for multiple industries. This will be important to our region’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring our economy works for everyone.”