BMF Training Zone – May 2021

BMF Training Zone – May 2021

The latest news from the BMF discusses a £3k cash bonus to boost merchant firms’ apprenticeship provision and the return of the popular MasterMerchant team-building challenge.

Less young talent is being recruited and trained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with the latest government report on apprenticeships in the country, covering the period 23 March 2020 to 31 July 2020, finding new UK apprenticeships were down 46% on the same period in 2019.

Many will say they had too much on their plate last year to recruit young workers and trainees, but reskilling and training is essential to the UK’s post-pandemic recovery and with generous government incentives currently available there has never been a better time to recruit.

Announced in the March Budget, a £3,000 grant will be paid to any employer in England hiring a new apprentice of any age between 1 April and 30 September 2021. Previously, firms in England received £2,000 for each new apprentice under the age of 25 and £1,500 for those over 25. The new £3,000 cash grant is on top of the £1,000 age incentive already provided for new apprentices aged 16 to 18, which means that some employers could receive £4,000 in total.

And although this grant is only available to employers in England, each of the Devolved Nations also offers different incentive programmes to encourage apprenticeships — and BMF Apprenticeships Plus has all the details.

Carmen Daley, Operations Manager at BMF Apprenticeships Plus, said: “This is fantastic time to bring new talent into your business. You will find excellent candidates who have been made redundant from retail and other roles and there will be a new cohort of school and college leavers seeking their first jobs in a few months’ time.

“Furthermore, our service is designed to remove potential administrative hurdles and make it easy for BMF members to take on apprentices in any job role. We can even employ an apprentice on a member’s behalf and take responsibility for all associated administration. In this circumstance, the cash incentive will be passed back to the BMF member, offering the best of both worlds.”

For more information call Carmen Daley on 0333 305 7656 or email

MasterMerchant is back!

After a year off due to Covid-19, this year’s BMF MasterMerchant year’s competition will be held in the Lake District from 9-11 July. 

Open to any BMF member company, the fun but demanding team competition involves a series of mental and physical problem-solving challenges to test each team’s creativity, communication and leadership skills.

John Newcomb, BMF CEO, said: “This fantastic teambuilding event has been taking place since the 1980s. Its longevity is testament to the great way it can help people to get to know each other better and work together as a team. We would also like to than the event’s headline sponsor Natural Cement.”

Some 19 teams have already signed up and the event accommodates a maximum of 20 teams (each comprising four people), however there may still be an opportunity to enter via

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