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Close Brothers launches third phase of SME Apprentice Programme

Close Brothers partners with the RHA to support 20 transport apprentices across the UK

Close Brothers has announced the launch of phase three of its SME Apprenticeship Programme, in partnership with the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

This new partnership with the RHA cements our established and continued commitment to help SMEs secure the skills they need for future growth – a pressing issue with the skills gap currently weighing heavily on the UK. 

Close Brothers will help SMEs recruit and train the next generation of Large Goods Vehicle Drivers. Under the scheme, Close Brothers will help pay for 20 apprentices to learn their skills and will fund half of the new recruits’ wages during the first six months and a quarter in the second, helping to alleviate cost concerns.

This third phase of the Close Brothers SME Apprenticeship Programme will build on the success of previous two years, which have helped fund 40 apprentices, within the manufacturing sector, in and around the Sheffield and Birmingham areas.

John Fawcett, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance Transport division, said:
“We know from our work with transport SMEs that many would like to take on apprentices but they are worried about the cost, time, and resource involved. Britain’s transport companies urgently need to recruit and train a new generation of skilled drivers if they are to grow in an increasingly competitive market. We believe this pioneering scheme will provide genuine financial support to the SME sector.”

Richard Burnett, RHA Chief Executive said:
“Right now the road transport sector has a massive 45,000 driver shortage and in today’s economic climate, many smaller operators simply cannot afford to take on apprentice drivers. This new initiative will go a long way to providing 20 companies with the funding they need to give them and the industry they service a real boost.”