Suffolk: County boost for apprenticeships

Lisa Chambers

Lisa Chambers - Credit: Archant

Suffolk County Council is set to spend nearly £1.5million over the next three years to boost apprenticeships as part of the Ipswich City Deal.

The funding from the county will boost the deal which aims to create more than 5,000 apprenticeship posts across the “greater Ipswich” area.

The county’s cabinet is set to approve the package at its meeting tomorrow – which will also endorse the county’s participation in the City Deal which was signed by council leader Mark Bee along with district council leaders from across Suffolk last month.

The county’s money for apprenticeships will be invested in three areas:

Making apprenticeships easier for companies, especially small and medium-sized companies, to set up.

Raising the awareness of apprenticeships in schools and among young people generally.

Raising the profile of apprenticeships in society as a whole – showing how they can boost the economy generally.

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Cabinet member with responsibility for education and skills Lisa Chambers said boosting apprenticeships was vital for the economy of the whole county.

She said: “Most of the employers in Suffolk are small businesses, and we need to work with them to show the benefits of the modern apprenticeships scheme.

“And we need to work with schools to encourage them to show students how apprenticeships can be a real alternative to going away to college or university.

“We have apprentices at the county and they do a great job – we need to get the message out there.”

The move is likely to be supported by the Labour opposition, whose leader Sandy Martin said: “The county is making the right moves in this.

“Youth unemployment is much too high and we feel the government has not done enough – we would like to see the youth job guarantee re-instated. But that is a national, not local, issue and we are generally supportive of these moves from the county.”