More apprenticeships up for grabs thanks to latest Medway Council scheme


A joiners based in Strood has become one of the first Medway businesses to take on a trainee as part of the council’s latest initiative to boost apprenticeships.

Totally Bespoke Joinery, based on Medway City Estate, has received a £2,000 subsidy to take on an apprentice as part of Medway Council’s apprentice subsidy scheme.

The scheme, launched in October following the completion of Medway’s 100 in 100 apprenticeship challenge, provides small to medium sized businesses with a subsidy of £2,000 to go towards the apprentice’s wages, or, or if they are over 19, their training costs.

For Brian Wright, 46, who has been running Bespoke Joinery for eight years, hearing about the subsidy meant he could give some serious consideration to taking on an apprentice. “We have had apprentices before but only short term placements – partly because of the costs” he said.

“For a business like ours, an apprenticeship really is the best way to learn the trade and pick up the skills and techniques. When I heard about the subsidy it seemed like the perfect opportunity to teach the trade and get an extra pair of hands on board.”

And their apprentice, Frank Turtle, 18, is already busy learning the ropes.

“I decided to look for an apprenticeship after completing my second year at college studying bench joinery. Doing an apprenticeship is giving me the chance to be in a real working environment and part of a team and, for me, it seemed the best way to really learn the trade.”

Frank attends North West Kent College where he is working towards a Diploma Level 3 in Bench Joinery one day a week and spends the other four days in the workplace.

“I’m working with bench joiners who have years of experience and can pass on their knowledge and expertise to me and will hopefully stand me in good stead for the future.”

Totally Bespoke Joinery employs three full timne staff and specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of bespoke and custom built timber staircases and fitted furniture.

The council’s subsidy scheme has set aside £200,000 for apprenticeships, half of which comes from EU funds, and aims to support up to 90 apprenticeships between now and March 2012.

The cash boost is targeted toward helping small to medium sized Medway businesses with less than 50 employees and is aimed at seven specific sectors, including construction and engineering, horticulture, travel and creative industries.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Strategic Development and Economic Growth, Cllr Jane Chitty, said: “We are committed to boosting economic growth here in Medway and this scheme is at the heart of that commitment –offering businesses that extra incentive to take on an apprentice and reap the benefits they can bring.

“Apprenticeships offer something really special – the chance for businesses to gain fresh, new talent trained to industry standards and an opportunity for young people to learn valuable skills and get on the career ladder.

“I’d encourage any businesses that are interested to get in touch now and find out what’s on offer to them.”

For more information on the subsidy and how it may benefit your business, get in touch by emailing gaps@medway.gov.uk or calling 01634 334348.

Top Photo: Frank Turtle and Brian Wright

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