Business News

Birmingham leaders give welcome to levy changes

An update to the apprenticeship system which will allow levy-paying organisations to transfer funds to another employer has been welcomed by business leaders. Transfers are being introduced

this month to give levy-paying employers more flexibility in how they spend their apprenticeship service funds. It means levy-payers can work

with other employers to help them take on apprentices, increasing the skills base in their supply chain, sector or local area. Those who opt to transfer funds

will do so on a monthly basis for the duration of the apprenticeship. Levy-paying employers now have

access to their transfers allowance in their apprenticeship service account. A transfer estimator tool will help them calculate the apprenticeships they could fund through a transfer to another

Life-saver: Stephen Brown

‘With skills gaps in Birmingham an ongoing issue, we are encouraged by this development’

organisation. They will then be able to agree to fund apprenticeships in one other organisation. Employers that do not pay the

levy will be able to register for an apprenticeship service account, enabling them to receive a transfer and start adding details of their apprenticeships to this account. Emily Stubbs, policy and patron

adviser, at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “With skills gaps in Birmingham an ongoing issue, and many businesses reporting hiring difficulties in our Quarterly Business Surveys, we are encouraged by this development. “We anticipated this

development in our latest hot topic, on Apprenticeship Reforms, and we would like to see further flexibility

on what organisations can spend their levy funding on. “We also urge that the

Government keeps an eye on any regional disparities in access to training that may arise from 38 per cent of the UK’s large businesses being in London and the South East.” For more information on

Apprenticeship Reforms, check out our Hot Topic, sponsored by Aston University. It can be accessed at: www.greaterbirminghamchambers. com/research-campaigning/hot- topics/apprenticeship-reforms/

For more information: • Follow @ESFAdigital on Twitter • Call 08000 150 600 • Email: helpdesk@manage-

Chamber launches Brexit toolkit

A three-part toolkit which cuts through the confusion and political rhetoric surrounding Brexit has been launched by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) - a year before the UK leaves the EU. The first part calls on

businesses to get Brexit ready and “Communicate, Research, Prepare and Seek Support”. It includes straightforward

tips on how businesses can start identifying areas of their business that may be impacted by Brexit and get thinking about their response. Alongside is a “Brexit dictionary” and case studies from local businesses already preparing for Brexit. Part Two is a “fact pack” on

the potential impact of Brexit on the region and businesses views. Part Three is a manifesto for stakeholders. Henrietta Brealey director of

policy and strategic relationships at the GBCC, said: “There is a whole lot of jargon, political positioning and confusion around Brexit. “With part one of our Brexit

toolkit, we want to cut through this uncertainty to give businesses straightforward information about Brexit and what it means for them. “We are under 12 months to

Brexit and any business should start pinning down areas of their organisation that are exposed to Brexit-related risks (and opportunities) and be thinking what they are going to do about them. “Regardless of where you

Heroic bus driver saves woman

A Birmingham bus driver has won a top National Express award after saving a young woman. Stephen Brown, based at the bus

operator’s Birmingham Central garage, came to the woman’s rescue after she had suffered a serious assault. As a result, Stephen was named

Driver of the Year at the National Express Values Awards ceremony – and he will now go on to the company’s international final alongside colleagues from Spain, Morocco, Bahrain, North America,

Germany and others from the UK. While out in service, Stephen,

who joined National Express West Midlands in September 2015, noticed a young woman running out into lanes of oncoming traffic. Worried about her welfare, he

pulled into a nearby bus stop and encouraged her to board his bus. In floods of tears and shaking,

the woman explained to Stephen that she had been trying to run away from a terrifying assault while she had been out on her morning run.

He convinced her to take shelter

on his bus and provided reassurance while he continued his service until the victim’s partner could get into the city centre to meet her. The woman, whose name has

been withheld to protect her identity, said: “I was saved by the man who was driving that bus. Stephen seemed genuinely worried about me and I will thank him for the rest of my life.”

• More Patrons’ news – pages 26-27

stand on the political spectrum, there is no denying that Brexit will bring change. With change comes the need for businesses to adapt. “The resources that we have published are designed to give businesses the information they need to get thinking practically about how they can get ready for Brexit. “We may not know what the

final deal will be but we do know a lot about the areas most likely to be affected by Brexit which for many businesses is enough to get started on their Brexit strategy.”

All parts of the Brexit Toolkit are available at: www.greaterbirminghamcha


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