Essex: Apprenticeship scheme is working, says council

Essex county councillor Kevin Bentley

Essex county councillor Kevin Bentley

Nearly 90% of people who have completed a year on Essex County Council’s Aprenticeship scheme have either been offered a job or have gone onto further education, according to the local authority.

So far the scheme has supported more than 2200 apprentices since it began in 2009 and the statistics come from the first phase of the scheme from July 2009 to March 2012.

The figures have been made available following new government research showing businesses and young people value apprenticeships and the positive results they deliver.

The research from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills shows that across the country, 84% of businesses and 88% of young people are satisfied with apprenticeships.

The majority of businesses said apprenticeships improved their productivity or service quality and the majority of apprentices saw their abilities and career prospects improve through the schemes

Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, deputy leader and cabinet member of economic growth and infrastructure, said: “It is great to see that apprenticeships are being recognised nationally as a fantastic opportunity for young people to start their career.

“An Essex Apprenticeship gives young people the chance to learn the skills required to succeed and begin on an exciting career pathway.

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“I’m hugely proud of the programme because it is highly successful and it shows that the answers to problems like unemployment are often found locally rather than through huge national initiatives run from London.

“We must do as much as possible to support young people to give them the best chance of employment in Essex.

“Last month saw the launch of the Essex Employment and Skills Board, a forum for employers and skills providers to come together and begin work to align skills provision with job opportunities. The purpose of this is to increase skills and employment in the county.”

The Employability and Skills Board is made up of 12 leading businesses from Essex including Ford, Stansted Airport, Raytheon and e2v, as well as other large companies and small- and medium-sized employers. Essex County Council will represent the public sector, with South Essex College and University of Essex representing the further education and higher education sectors.

In the past year, Essex County Council has been working to raise the awareness of the apprenticeship scheme amongst young people through a roadshow in Essex schools.

Research from these roadshows found that almost half of the people that attended were now keen to find out more about becoming an apprentice.

Following the success of the first phase, the roadshow is due to revisit Essex schools between September and November 2013.

Essex County Council currently has apprenticeship opportunities available in the Energy sector, Creative and Digital industries, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and Health and Social Care.

Visit www.facebook.com/essexapprentice to find out more about becoming an apprentice.

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