A CHARITY that provides young people with apprentice work is looking to undergo a major expansion in 2018.

Appris, based at Btal house in Laisterdyke, has revealed plans to expand its base to provide space for an extra 70 apprentices a week, as well as offering new provisions in fabrication and welding.

The group, which received a “good” rating from Ofsted shortly before Christmas, has submitted a planning application to build a new engineering apprentice workshop and training centre on land on the corner of Sticker Lane and New Lane.

If approved, it would mean Appris could train up to 250 apprentices a week, up from 180.

The site had previously been owned by the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, which has come out in support of the new application.

Nick Garthwaite, President of the Bradford Chamber, has written to Bradford Council saying: “We believe that there is a need for expanding the service and facilities offered by Appris. It is well known that general education attainment levels in Bradford are below national average, and that more needs to be done to address that.

“Bradford has a higher than average proportion of its working age population with no qualifications. Training centres like the one being delivered by Appris are much needed to educate and train our local population.”

The plans have also been supported by numerous local businesses, including Idle based Graham Hart (Process Technology) and Mansfield Pollard, based on Parry Lane.

The companies are some of those that work with Appris. Michelle Bainbridge, HR manager for Mansfield Pollard, said the fabrication and welding training facility would be useful for local companies, adding: “These are skills we use extensively in our business, and there is a need to train up apprentices in our area.”

A spokesman for the charity said: “Appris have continued to see growth across its engineering provisions, with over 180 apprentices attending the existing training centre on a weekly basis.

“Working with local engineering employers and utilising charitable reserves, we are exploring opportunities to compliment our existing provision with fabrication and welding training resources, in line with new engineering Apprenticeship Standards.”

The expansion will create three full time jobs. A decision whether to approve the plans is expected later this month.