British bank offers to pay apprentice wages

British bank Close Brothers has said that it will pay the wages of 60 apprentices at small and medium-sized businesses in a bid to promote the vocational pathway.

The SME finance lender is committing a six-figure sum over three years to businesses which don’t have the money to take on trainees. In the first year, the bank will find half of the wage, and in the second year it will pay a quarter.

Stephen Hodges, the chief executive of Close Brothers’ banking division, said the bank is not expecting any financial gain from the programme.  SMEs who want to hire apprentices do not have to be Close Brothers customers.