New Forest businesses can access a free apprenticeship and skills training advice service, courtesy of New Forest District Council and Solent Business & Skills Solutions.

The new service, known as the New Forest Apprenticeship and Skills Hub, offers businesses advice on apprenticeship funding options, levy transfers, and hiring processes.

Assistance is also given on sourcing suitable training and skills development providers. Customisable support is available via email, phone, or face-to-face meetings.

Cllr Derek Tipp, portfolio holder for economy and planning, said: “Employers benefit immensely from apprenticeships; they gain access to a pool of motivated, trained individuals who are eager to contribute to their business.

"In turn, apprenticeships offer individuals the chance to gain valuable skills, higher earning potential and improved life chances. We are therefore very pleased to offer this specialist advice tailored to the training and development needs of a specific business.

"I encourage any New Forest business considering taking on an apprentice, or improving the skills of their workforce, to contact the New Forest Apprenticeship and Skills Hub."

Jodi Fair, programme manager at Solent Business & Skills Solutions, said: "We’re really looking forward to seeing the positive impact this partnership will have on local businesses.

"By offering our knowledge and advice, we aim to empower New Forest SMEs to be engaged in the skills landscape to close some of the skills gaps they may currently be experiencing."