The baking industry could benefit from new government plans to make over £10m of funding available to businesses, with the launch of a trial to develop Apprenticeship Expansion Programmes.

The trials will be delivered through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and funding of £10m will be available to employers over the next three years. It is hoped this will increase the number of apprenticeship vacancies available and fill skills gaps.

Funding will be available to large businesses and groups of small and medium-sized businesses, which currently run high-quality apprenticeships. Financial support is available to meet any additional costs associated with the trials, such as the wage, training and management costs of learners.

“Given the current economic slowdown, it is important that companies continue training their staff to maintain productivity and a competitive edge,” said David Way, national director of apprenticeships. “Employing apprentices is an ideal way for businesses to position themselves as leaders for the recovery.”

Interested bakeries should contact the Learning and Skills Council by calling 024 7682 3668 or visiting The deadline for expressions of interest is 16 January, 2009.