Off-grid fuel supplier AvantiGas has spoken out in support of the government’s proposed apprenticeship levy as it seeks to fill the skills gap in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry.

As news of the government’s apprenticeship levy for 2017 hits the press, AvantiGas has praised the current national apprenticeship programme, which has helped it secure full time positions for 20 apprentices.

The Chesterfield-based firm, which employs around 200 staff across the UK, uses apprenticeship schemes to ensure continuity of its knowledge base and delivery of high customer service.

The government’s levy, which is set to be introduced in May 2017, is designed to fund 3 million places for apprentices in the UK and will be paid for by employers in England with a payroll of more than £3 million.

Trish Thorp, HR and training advisor at AvantiGas, said: “We are exceptionally committed to encouraging more young people into an arena which is known to suffer from a skills shortage and as a company we’re investing heavily in the future of this industry by pulling talent into our organisation and focusing on post apprenticeship development.

“We welcome the support the government is offering through the new levy and the plans to increase funding apprenticeships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The desire to fulfil our customers’ expectations is high amongst our apprentice community and their success forms a key part of our business strategy, which is to create a workforce of experts, trained to the highest standards with exactly the skills we need.”

A recent survey by the National Apprenticeship Service found that 80% of businesses that invest in apprenticeship schemes benefit from a significant improvement in employee retention. Further data from Centre for Economics and Business Research shows that an apprentice can typically grow a company’s productivity gains by £10,000 a year. 

Pictured: AvantIGas apprentice, Jake Harrison