PM David Cameron backs Suffolk 500 apprenticeship initiative

Thumbs up. David Cameron, pictured speaking in Ipswich during the General Election campaign earlier

Thumbs up. David Cameron, pictured speaking in Ipswich during the General Election campaign earlier this year, has welcomed the Suffolk 500 campaign to create more apprenticeships in the county. - Credit: Archant

The Prime Minister has given his personal backing a campaign which aims to encourage more businesses in Suffolk to take on apprentices.

The Suffolk 500 initiative, launched a week ago, has set a target of securing commitments from employers around the county to create 500 new apprenticeships within the next 100 working days.

It involves the Apprenticeships Suffolk Business Service (ASBS), working in partnership with Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

David Cameron has now sent a message of support to the campaign organisers, welcoming the opportunities the initiative offers for training and growth.

The Prime Minister said: “I’m delighted to hear about the Suffolk 500 campaign to create 500 new apprenticeships in the next 100 days.

“We are committed to supporting 3million quality apprenticeships over the next five years, to help strengthen our economy, deliver the skills that employers need and give millions more hardworking people financial security and a brighter future.”

He added: “We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of apprenticeships in Suffolk since 2010 but we want to keep this momentum going.

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“Suffolk 500 will give more people here the chance to learn a trade, as well as ensuring local businesses have the skilled workforce they need to succeed. That’s good for local people, good for businesses in Suffolk and good for the economy.”

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber, responded yesterday: “It is very encouraging indeed that Suffolk 500 has the backing of the Prime Minister. The campaign is only one week old and as it gathers support we hope that more and more firms across the county will take part and bring opportunities to apprentices across Suffolk.

“The Government has a strong commitment to apprenticeships as a key driver of economic growth. David Cameron’s personal backing shows Suffolk 500 is a fundamental part of that and we hope Number 10’s support will encourage more businesses to take part.”

Employers expressing interest in the initiative will be able to meet with ASBS to discuss their training requirements and the best apprenticeship programme for them.

They will then be referred to a relevant training provider and given any support they need to recruit an apprentice or move an existing employee to an apprenticeship.