The initial two year funding of £1.4 million from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills for EDGE Apprenticeships in Food and Farming has come to an end. Since March 2013 this innovative scheme has recruited 495 apprentices with 383 employers – raising £393,000 from industry to support apprenticeships as well as £310,000 of in-kind industry matched funding.
Now re-named EDGE Careers, the project is widening its geographical area from the East of England to cover the whole of the UK to match apprentices with employers who will be asked to share the financial costs. EDGE manager, Richard Self, told The Eastern Daily Press that “it’s like a match-making service, and there’s a need for it as there’s a disconnect between people saying they want to do something in food and farming and a farmer saying: ‘I want to recruit someone’. Also it isn’t just for farms – it’s ancillary industries like agricultural engineering where we have currently got 25 jobs available in East Anglia.”
Partners in EDGE include Anglia Farmers, Fram Farmers Group, Easton and Otley College, New Anglia LEP and Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils.