Ipswich tops east of England for number of apprenticeship starts

David Ellesmere in front of the buildings that the council have just purchased on the Ipswich waterf

David Ellesmere in front of the buildings that the council have just purchased on the Ipswich waterfront. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Ipswich is on course to match its record number of apprenticeship starts this year after more than 600 were created in the last five months.

Figures released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills revealed that last year 1,200 apprenticeships were created in Ipswich – a record number for the town from figures dating back the last 10 years.

And in the first five months to January this year, 620 have already been created, meaning the town is on course to top last year’s figure.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said: “The level of skills in Ipswich and Suffolk historically has been a big concern so we have put quite a bit of effort as a borough council in trying to increase the apprenticeships.

“Raising the level of skills is something that everybody in Ipswich should be working really hard to do, and we have had some real success in that.”

Mr Ellesmere pointed to schemes such as the borough council’s own apprenticeship programme, and a tie-up with the Papworth Trust which helps small businesses through the red tape of recruiting apprentices, as key in the town’s success.

“They have given them jobs at the end of their apprenticeships so we are really pleased with that,” Mr Ellesmere added. “That’s something that‘s now going to continue with the MyGo centre. There is lots of work behind the scenes.”

Most Read

The data also revealed that Ipswich topped the list for the number of apprenticeship starts in the five months to January out of 58 constituencies in the East of England.

As well as borough council organised projects, Suffolk County Council has also run the Apprenticeship Suffolk Business Service which gives one-to-one support for youngsters and works alongside businesses to help youngsters start apprenticeships that can fill job vacancies.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman added: “This increase is a clear indication of Suffolk’s growing economy and the investment companies are making in their businesses and the town’s future. The figures are up across Suffolk including Ipswich, and are on target to grow further over the next 7 months.

“This increase also demonstrates the impact of the investment that Suffolk County Council has made into Apprenticeships. We have through funding from the SCC cabinet put in place a number of measures to support people into apprenticeships and employers to create apprenticeships.”