ASDA has given almost £100,000 to train 11 new police community support officers in West Yorkshire.

The money from the Leeds-based supermarket giant is the latest example of £5.7m pledged by businesses in West Yorkshire to provide training for more than 530 apprentices in the county.

As a large employer ASDA is required by the Treasury to pay the Apprenticeship Levy – a percentage of its annual pay bill which must be spent on apprenticeships.

After working with the Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin a portion of this funding has now been spent to train the new PCSOs and there are also 10 new emergency contact handlers on the way.

This is part of the mayor’s drive to recruit 750 new police officers and staff.

Mayor Brabin said: “Here in West Yorkshire we’re bringing together businesses and training providers to ensure young people get the skills they need to succeed.”

One of the new PCSOs, Daisy Speak, said: “I applied to be a PCSO because I would like to make a difference in the community and support people who need us the most. I also want to try my best to make a difference to people’s perception of the police.

“I feel the apprenticeship gives me a chance to earn a good wage and gain qualifications while I gather experience to eventually become a PC.

This course has given me a brilliant opportunity to turn my life around and make a future for me and my children.”

ASDA has already helped to place over 70 apprenticeships in organisations across the region, with more than half a million pounds being transferred to the mayor’s Apprenticeship Levy fund since 2020.

ASDA’s chief people and corporate affairs officer Hayley Tatum said: “Apprenticeships are vital in providing young people opportunities for growth, employment and to build new skills.

“We know the scale of pressure being felt in our public services and communities due to the cost-of-living crisis. That’s why ASDA continues to do all we can to support our local communities not just as a supermarket, but as a large business and employer.”

The mayor is also working with local job centres to encourage people to apply for roles with West Yorkshire Police.

After attending an information session at the local job centre, people are encouraged to sign-up to specialist courses after which they are guided through the police application process.

The announcement of new funding for PCSOs follows the launch of the West Yorkshire Plan which pledged to upskill people into good, well-paid jobs.

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Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.