Essex: Jobs boost for county

BUSINESS leaders and local authorities have welcomed plans which will see over 200 jobs created in the energy sector across Essex.

Essex County Council (ECC) said it will be working with wind power, oil, gas and nuclear energy industries to create 250 new apprenticeships over the next three years.

The announcement follows a formal commitment made earlier this month by the leaders of Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils to support skills and employability for the sector.

Businesses will be offered a wage subsidy when they take on an apprentice as an incentive to take part in the initiative.

The news comes as attention turns to the large off shore wind farm being built off the coast at Harwich. It is hoped that the manufacturing, assembly, construction and maintenance of the wind turbines will bring a huge boost to long-term employment in the area.

Leader of Tendring District Council Neil Stock welcomed the announcement and said it is important businesses working in the energy industry get on board and reach out to local schools.

“I am delighted to hear that Essex County Council is doing this. We have been working very closely with them and explained how crucial it is we get people trained in this industry in places like Harwich which is set to have a wind farm. We need to get people trained as we do have a skills shortage in this industry.

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“One of the things that’s being addressed at the moment and that we want to see continue, is businesses going into local schools and engaging with staff and pupils so youngsters will start considering a career in this industry. “The Harwich and Dovercourt High School has already been doing this but we do need businesses to be altruistic and take on apprenticeships for this to work.”

ECC’s initiative is part of the Essex Apprenticeship scheme which has created 1,396 new apprenticeships since 2009.

County Councillor Stephen Castle, said: “By focusing on the energy industry we can ensure that young people are learning skills from which they can build solid careers with real opportunity for them to progress.

“We will also be securing future economic growth for the county by providing businesses with the skill base they need to flourish.”

The news has also been applauded by the Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

“The energy sector is a key growth area not just for Essex but across the whole of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and New Anglia LEP areas so we welcome the support being given by these county councils to create 250 apprenticeships in the industry, commented Development Manager, Keith Brown.

“We would encourage businesses to take advantage of this opportunity to employ new staff who will receive good training to help them begin their careers in the energy sector.”

Businesses requiring more information should visit www.essex.gov.uk/essexapprentice or contact apprenticeships@essex.gov.uk.

Apprenticeships are listed on ECC’s Facebook group at www.facebook.com/essexapprentice.