Suffolk: Drive to create 5,000 new apprenticeships to address skills shortage in the county

Bid to create new apprenticeships to bridge skills gap in Suffolk Bid to create new apprenticeships to bridge skills gap in Suffolk

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
11:17 AM

An ambitious £1.5million campaign to double the number of apprenticeship places in Suffolk and create thousands of new jobs and training opportunities for young people has been launched today.

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An ambitious £1.5million campaign to double the number of apprenticeship places in Suffolk and create thousands of new jobs and training opportunities for young people has been launched today.

The campaign is being driven by Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, who are calling on employers to help create a raft of new apprenticeship places with the aim that there will be 5,000 new opportunities created by 2019. Both bodies believe that growing apprenticeships is a key element of tackling the skills shortage in the county and creating a more successful and sustainable economy for the future. The initiative is also backed by the East Anglian Daily Times.

Deputy leader of the council, Lisa Chambers, who is cabinet member for education and skills, said: “Apprenticeships are already thriving in Suffolk, helping to create a strong and growing economy while improving the prospects and earning potential of thousands of young people. We want to make more people aware of the fantastic range of opportunities on offer across the county and encourage more employers to consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business.

“There has never been a better time to think about an apprenticeship and over the next three years, we will be investing £1.5m to make it as easy as possible to employ an apprentice or start an apprenticeship.”

The initiative has been backed by a number of the region’s leading employers who already understand the benefits that apprenticeship schemes can deliver. There is a huge range of apprenticeships already available across Suffolk in both traditional and cutting edge sectors, from engineering and IT to hospitality and construction.

Research with employers has found that 96% of businesses which have taken on an apprentice believe their company has benefitted. It is hoped that over the coming weeks and months more businesses and organisations will sign up as a first step in growing their own talent and developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

The county council and New Anglia are also keen to reach young people and their parents to push the message that apprenticeships offer a real alternative to going to university and an equally prestigious route to a career. Since 2010, more than 14,000 young people have started an apprenticeship in Suffolk with research suggesting a third will have received a promotion within a year of finishing their training.

Ms Chambers said she wanted the campaign to also help change common perceptions about apprenticeships. She added: “The perception of apprenticeships is often a barrier to young people and businesses.

“We need to end the stereotype that apprenticeships are only available in traditional sectors, such as construction or manufacturing.

“In fact they cover nearly 1,500 job roles in almost 200 industries, from advertising to software development, engineering to accountancy, public relations to construction and veterinary nursing. They’re available across Suffolk too.

“Neither are they unpaid work experience. Apprenticeships are real jobs that come with a wage. Apprentices work at least 30 hours per week, earning at least minimum wage – currently £2.68 per hour for under 19s and first year apprentices – but often significantly more.”

Suffolk County Council has partnered with the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister publications to promote the campaign.

“Each week we will be reporting on the progress that is being made and featuring case studies of both employers and young people who have seen first hand the benefits apprenticeships can deliver. In addition, a full page of apprenticeship opportunities will be published each week on the recruitment pages of EADT’s Saturday edition.

Editor-in-chief of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, Terry Hunt, said: “I’m really excited about this campaign. We need make our young people aware of the widest range of opportunities they have, and taking up an apprenticeship is a brilliant option for many people.’’

2 comments

  • I really didn't know that young people could get an appenticeship in nail painting, serving coffee or serving fast food !, well that will certainly help to massage the youth unemployment figures !

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    freedomf

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

  • EADT, if you're going to regurgitate Tory press releases as news could you at least try to make it bit less obvious? The "ENDS" is a bit of a give away.

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    Origami Penguin

    Wednesday, September 3, 2014

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