- 13/01/11 - Making Apprenticeships Work for Somerset
Today, Strode College and Mid Somerset Newspapers are launching a campaign that could secure the futures of many young people in our area.
We are asking local businesses - both large and small - to take on new apprentices as part of a Somerset-wide challenge to generate 100 new apprentices in 100 days.
We know that there are over 2000 young people aged 18-24 looking for work in Somerset at the moment (ONS), and over 280 16-17 year olds not in education, training or employment (Connect SW). Many of our young people want to start work, but they also want to continue their education in some way. This is exactly what they could do with an apprenticeship - work, earn and learn at the same time.
We also know that there are local companies that need apprentices - young people who are keen to learn and prepared to work hard given the opportunity and the right training and support.
Our apprenticeship challenge is designed to bring these local employers and employees together.
Our campaign will help people like 17 year old George Stott, whose approach to learning and his future career took a positive turn when he began training in fitness and exercise at Strode College, and got an apprenticeship with Avalon Fitness Centre in Street.
This will invigorate our region's businesses by bringing enthusiastic young people to our shops, offices, restaurants, warehouses, leisure facilities and salons, and with them, their energy and willingness to learn.
Apprenticeships give companies the chance to invest in their own futures, as well as those of their young employees, and this can be a catalyst in the recovery of our regional economy.
The government has highlighted the importance of apprenticeships in getting young people into work, by committing an extra £150 million for its apprenticeships programme this year. Today, we are making a plea to local businesses to show commitment to our young people and our economy, by helping us reach our apprenticeship goal.
Apprenticeships are a cost-effective way for businesses to recruit and train young people. They are also a tried and tested way of developing the skills and knowledge needed to make businesses effective and competitive. This is particularly true for small businesses which find the cost of staff overheads difficult to bear. If you employ an apprentice there are other benefits too, like free health and safety checks on premises and free or subsidised training for your employee.
There are plenty of good reasons for businesses to sign up to our challenge by offering new apprenticeships.
During the campaign we will feature young people who are already benefiting from working and training as an apprentice, the companies that employ them, and the training they undertake at Strode College. We will show that by giving young people a chance to make a successful future our businesses can reap the rewards.