A recently launched pilot scheme to support Greater Manchester apprentices with the cost of travel, one of the most frequently cited barriers to apprenticeships reported to us by providers, partners and apprentices (particularly young people) and reflected in the GM Apprenticeship Strategy.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and New Economy (on behalf of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester Apprenticeship Hub) have been working together to look at ways in which we can help tackle this issue. Work is ongoing but in the meantime TfGM has identified funds to support an initial pilot scheme while the development of a substantive travel package continues.
The ultimate goal is to develop a longer term subsidised ticketing offer designed to support retention and tackle the barriers associated with travel costs. However, in the immediate future we are looking both to support apprentices as an interim measure pending the full travel offer and to collect information that will help shape that future offer.
There are two elements to the pilot at this stage, which will be managed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, subject to eligibility and availability:
- Apprentice Bike to Work scheme – apprentices will be able to apply to receive a free reconditioned bicycle, together with the equipment and optional training they need to cycle safely and securely and to maintain their bike
- Apprentice Free Ticket scheme – this will offer new apprentices a free 28 day Greater Manchester bus and Metrolink ticket for them to travel to their places of work and training.
The pilot is being offered in the first instance to apprentices registered with 30 Greater Manchester providers who deliver the largest volumes of apprenticeships within GM however, if you are aware of providers that are keen to be involved on behalf of their apprentices but have not yet been contacted by New Economy or TfGM then please let me know.
The Apprentice Free Ticket is available to any GM apprentice within the first six months of their start date. The Apprentice Bike to Work programme is available to GM apprentices regardless of the stage they are at in their apprenticeship. The apprentice will be contacted 3 months after receiving their equipment to take part in an evaluation survey, after which the bicycle will be theirs to keep.
If you have any queries about the scheme please let us know or contact firstname.lastname@example.org and colleagues will be happy to answer any questions.