Ideal Heating reinvests apprenticeship funding to support local business

Ideal Heating
(l-r) Carl Southcoat of HEY LEP; Maria Cunningham from Ideal Heating; Connor Docherty and Louise Bell from Bell4Business; and Louise O'Connor, of HBTC

Ideal Heating has used part of its Apprenticeship Levy funding to pay for Connor Docherty, office administrator at business services provider Bell4Business, to undertake a digital marketing apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship will support the next stage of 21-year-old Connor’s professional development and enable Bell4Buisness to expand by offering additional services, a statement said.

The 15-month programme is being delivered by Hull Business Training Centre (HBTC). The Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (HEY LEP) played a crucial role in linking up Ideal Heating, Bell4Business and HBTC through its Business Growth Hub.

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced by the government in 2017 for all companies paying a wage bill of more than £3m a year. Employers that meet the criteria must pay 0.5% of their pay bill each month as a levy tax.

The levy can be reinvested into the company’s workforce in the form of apprenticeship training. If it isn’t spent within 24 months, any unused funding will expire and must be returned to the government.

However, companies also have the option of transferring a percentage of unspent funds to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Ideal Heating, which is based in Hull and owned by parent company Groupe Atlantic, has pledged to transfer up to £25,000 of its annual levy funding to support local talent.

Maria Cunningham, HR advisor – development at Ideal Heating, said: “As a major employer in Hull, we wanted to give something back and support a small independent business that doesn’t have access to the same level of funding we do.

“It’s really important to us to invest in the local area, to address collective skills needs while helping develop the future talent pool.

“Digitalisation is a key priority for us, so it makes sense for us to invest in the development of skills in this area locally, and we’re delighted to be able to support Connor and Bell4Business.”

Connor added: “I’m so grateful to Ideal Heating for funding this training. I only began the programme recently, but I’ve already learned so much, building upon all the knowledge and experience I have gained in the business and working with our clients over the past five years.

“I’ll be able to make use of what I learn to benefit the business and it’s also absolutely brilliant for my own career development.”

Louise Bell, owner of Bell4Business, said: “Connor joined us when he was only 16 and he’s done fantastically well, becoming a key person in the business, with his own clients.

“This new programme will support the next stage of Connor’s development. It will also mean we’ll be able to offer additional digital services, grow as a business and hopefully take on more staff.

“Support like this is essential for a business such as ours and I’m incredibly grateful to Ideal Heating.”

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