Rushden businessman fears he may lose apprentices

Wellingborough's Vineyard Emporium proprietor Greg Heywood with members of his team. Greg is worried he will have to let his apprentices go because he has not yet received government grants for employing them.
Wellingborough's Vineyard Emporium proprietor Greg Heywood with members of his team. Greg is worried he will have to let his apprentices go because he has not yet received government grants for employing them.

The owner of a Rushden business says the Government needs to give more help to companies which employ apprentices.

Greg Heywood, the owner of Vineyard Emporium which repairs and sells furniture, said the Government grants handed to companies which employ apprentices are too slow coming, and he fears it may force him to stop employing the seven apprentices he currently has.

Mr Heywood said: “I’ve had my apprentices with me since March 22, but I’ve been told that it may be another eight weeks until the grants come through.

“The business is doing well, but I fear if it takes any longer it will be a struggle.

“Twelve months ago, they were on the dole and I don’t want them to be back on the dole.”

Mr Heywood would like the process speeded up, and made more simpler by the Government.

He said he thinks it is a good idea, but it is too complicated.

He also added that he thinks the system is too complex for employees, it is too ‘bureaucratic’ and ‘jargonised,’ and he thinks it is putting off other potential employers.

He added he will do all he can to keep the apprentices.

A spokesman for the National Apprenticeship Service said all employers are told the grant payment will be handed to them after 13 weeks of employment, but it can take nine weeks after this to then process the payment.