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Close Brothers SME Apprentice Programme

Supporting SMEs by helping fund new apprentices

Recruiting and training a new generation of apprentices

Since 2015 Close Brothers has successfully helped SMEs across the UK recruit and train a new generation of apprentices.  

Apprenticeships can be life changing, offering people of all ages and backgrounds a high quality route to skilled employment in a range of exciting professions. 

We believe the SME sector is the lifeblood of the UK economy and strongly encourage the role of apprentices in helping SMEs grow.  

"Apprenticeships are an excellent way for UK SMEs to fill skills gaps, develop their future workforce and improve long-term growth prospects."  

Adrian Sainsbury, Chief Executive


A lasting, positive impact on society

Our SME Apprentice Programme is now in its fifth phase and demonstrates our long established and continued commitment to help SMEs and their local communities grow, succeed and thrive. 

The programme contributes to the funding of new apprentices in the manufacturing and transport sectors in and around the Midlands, helping local SMEs to secure the skills they need for the future. 

Helping to "build the future" through apprenticeships

This year’s National Apprenticeship Week (8-14 February), a celebration of apprenticeships, was themed “Build the future”.  

As the impacts of the pandemic on the economy develop, the importance of apprenticeships as a model for education and training is only going to increase. National Apprenticeship Week gave an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of opportunity and value that apprenticeships bring, and how they can help individuals and employers build their future.

Close Brothers has been supporting apprenticeships for six years through its SME Apprentice Programme.

Hallam Castings, a UK aluminium die casting specialist manufacturer, describes the value of having a Close Brothers funded apprentice in their business

Please note, this video was filmed prior to the Covid-19 outbreak

Meet Rosie Davies, a Close Brothers funded apprentice

“I was the only girl that turned up to my college with steel capped boots.” Rosie Davies works as an engineering apprentice for Penny Hydraulics.
Image of Ben Sidall, an apprentice part of Close Brothers apprentice scheme

Bethany Cousins, AMRC Apprentice Spotlight Story

Bethany Cousins, a Manufacturing Technology degree apprentice, works as a project engineer at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (”AMRC”). In December 2020 she was crown Apprentice of the Year and Degree Apprentice of the Year.
Image of Bethany Cousins, an apprentice part of Close Brothers apprentice scheme

Ben Siddall, a Close Brothers funded apprentice

”My apprenticeship with the AMRC has been the stepping stone that set me off in the right direction in my career.” Ben Siddall went on to win Apprentice of the Year 2018.
Image of Ben Siddall

Close Brothers remains committed to SME apprenticeship programme

A further 15 apprentices who will join the programme in 2021, marking the fifth phase of this scheme.

Read more

How can haulage businesses address the skills shortage?

Close Brothers partnered with the RHA to help tackle the driver shortage and train the next generation of Large Goods Vehicle Drivers through its SME Apprentice Programme.

Find out more here

Pimlico Plumbers Case Study

Charlie Mullins gives insight into his journey from an apprentice to becoming a multi millionaire, and the value of an apprentice in the workplace today.

Click here

The value of our SME Apprentice Programme

"If you want to keep ahead of the competition then you need the right people with the right skills."
That’s why Robin Penny, managing director of Penny Hydraulics Ltd, signed up to the Close Brothers SME Apprentice Programme.

Read Penny Hydraulics Ltd story here

The power of apprenticeship support

Insight from Steve Gee, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance, Industrial Equipment Division

Read more here

We remain committed to our SME Apprentice Programme


Phase 1: Launch of the Close Brothers SME Apprentice Programme. An intake of 20 apprentices to learn skills at the AMRC Training Centre


Phase 2: We partnered with Make UK and MTA to support 20 manufacturing apprentices in Birmingham


Phase 3: Supporting 20 transport apprentices across the UK through partnering with the RHA


Phase 4: We continue our work with AMRC Training Centre to sponsor a further 20 apprentices


Phase 5: A further 15 apprentices funded in conjunction with the AMRC Training Centre

Our SME Apprentice Programme partners