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Northamptonshire has one of the UK's fastest growing populations. It is critical that our current and future workforce have the necessary skills and aspirations to meet the demands of local business. Our work programme in this area balances the challenges of addressing both the current skills shortages and planning for the future.

Through NEP's Employment & Skills Strategy Board, local industry and providers have a strong voice in the development of the programme, which aims to ensure the right provision is in place at every level. The National Careers Service Inspiration contract which NEP has secured is fully integrated with the Northamptonshire programme and has brokered over 300 activities in schools between business representatives and young people to raise aspiration and knowledge of the workplace.

The Vision

Enterprise Advisers

In September 2015, the official launch of the UK’s Enterprise Network, organised by The Careers & Enterprise Company, took place at the House of Lords - a milestone event for both NEP’s Enterprise Advisers pilot which was adopted for the nationwide programme and Northamptonshire with the county praised for its significant contribution in several of the speaker presentations.

A new work programme for the next academic year is being developed, building on the learning from the pilot and from collaboration with partners to add value to existing provision. This work complements that of the National Careers Service Inspiration contract.

The Enterprise Advisers (EA) pilot ran from October 2014 to July 2015 and was a great success with 18 secondary schools getting involved to develop their links with business. The New Careers and Enterprise Company has been in close contact with NEP since its informal evaluation of the pilot and has now adopted NEP’s model for the national roll-out of the programme.

The national roll-out has meant that we have been able to invite more schools and business advisers to join the programme. We now have 28 secondary schools signed-up for 2015-16 and a new set of Enterprise Advisers matched to their schools. As a result of the Enterprise Adviser pilot, NEP has also been successful in delivering the National Careers Service Inspiration contract and has brokered over 300 activities in schools between business representatives and young people to raise aspiration and knowledge of the workplace.

Find out more by watching the below video:


Bright Futures Campaign

A major campaign was launched by NEP in March 2015 aimed at giving Northamptonshire’s young people fresh insight into the many great career, training and apprenticeship opportunities available right on their doorstep.

As well as inspiring young people to explore the breadth of career breaks available locally, the campaign encourages Northamptonshire businesses to appreciate the importance of investing in young people, essential for many to ensure sustainability and growth. Running throughout 2016 and with a monthly sector focus, companies large and small in all key sectors have responded positively, pledging to forge stronger links with students and schools, offer apprenticeships, graduate trainee and work placement positions, and to participate in careers events.

The campaign features many of the county’s ‘real’ apprentices and prominent local employers already investing in their young employees, and local schools contributed at the planning stages via focus groups to ensure the messaging is relevant and credible.

View the campaign here


Apprenticeships continue to be a major route into employer training and a key priority for NEP is to develop locally, government’s commitment to create three million UK apprenticeships by 2020.

To this end, NEP is currently reviewing the Northamptonshire Apprenticeship Plan and will continue to work closely with the Employment & Skills Strategy Board and local provider networks to increase both the volume and level of apprenticeships available in Northamptonshire, encouraging key sector employers to support the creation of more advanced and higher level apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship Levy

In April 2017 the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing. Some employers will be required to contribute to a new apprenticeship levy and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers.

The apprenticeship levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to make an investment in apprenticeships. You can benefit from this investment by training apprentices.

For further guidance on how the apprenticeship levy will work and latest government updates, click here

Why Recruit an Apprentice and How Does My Business Benefit?

* Bring new staff into the organisation
* Grow talent
* Develop a skilled, motivated and qualified workforce
* 96% of employers report benefits including increased productivity and the introduction of new ideas 
* Reduced staff turnover, lower recruitment costs and boosted staff morale
* Develop the skills your business needs

For further information and guidance on how to hire an apprentice, click here or contact the National Apprenticeship Service Business Support Team on 08000 150 600.

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