OWNERS of Fawley refinery have pledged their support for young people and small enterprises across the Solent area by joining the Transfer to Transform scheme.

ExxonMobil runs the 59-year-old petro-chemical complex, which is the largest oil refinery in the UK and one of the most complex in Europe.

Led by the Solent Apprenticeship Hub, Transfer to Transform encourages large employers to cover the cost of new apprenticeship training for smaller businesses.

The scheme is regarded as more important than ever as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to tighten its grip on industry and the UK economy.

Having supported the government apprenticeship programme for decades, ExxonMobil is pledging £85,000 of its apprenticeship levy funding to Transfer to Transform.

The funding will be distributed to smaller, non-levy paying businesses across the Solent region.

It will result in a huge savings opportunity for small companies in the community and provide much-needed investment in young people and skills.

ExxonMobil's pledge brings the total Transfer to Transform money to £850,000, which will be used for apprenticeship training throughout the area.

Beth Varndell, ExxonMobil's Fawley training manager said: “The apprenticeship programme is very important and key to providing our young people with the skills they need for their future. In turn, apprenticeships provide companies with competent, skilled, and engaged staff to support operations.

“ExxonMobil Fawley is thrilled to be able to support the Transfer to Transform Scheme.

"We very much hope our pledge will help put young people on the ladder to a successful career by offering them the opportunity to begin a brand-new apprenticeship.

“In addition, we are delighted that Transfer to Transform will give much-needed support to local businesses and educational providers."

Organisations involved in the scheme include Southampton City Council.

Cllr Darren Paffey, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “Through Transfer to Transform we expect to see a much-needed boost to apprenticeship provision across the region, helping to strengthen and support the local economy in these turbulent times.

"It makes absolute sense to ensure apprenticeship levy funds go straight to building up our local businesses and apprentices."