Investing in our schools, Young people

Apprentice campaign gets off to flying start

Apprentice campaign gets off to flying start

A campaign spearheaded by Surrey County Council to fill 200 apprentice places in 100 days has got off to a flying start.

Businesses at the launch event* promised to create 24 apprenticeships on the very first day of the drive to boost the job prospects of young people in Surrey.

Nine businesses stepped forward, ranging from Virgin Media signing up to hire 10 apprentices, the Sun Inn, Dunsfold, agreeing to take on another two and Hersham-based Risk and Safety Plus employing one more. Among the other businesses pledging were Camberley’s Project Five and London-based Aygeas.

In addition, the county council will create 10 places as part of its apprenticeship scheme, which has seen nearly 60 young people hired in the past two years.

The campaign to encourage businesses and other organisations to create a range of work opportunities is part of the county council’s goal to ensure all 16 to 19-year-olds in Surrey are in education, employment or training by 2015.

Peter Martin, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, said: “It’s wonderful the campaign has got off to such a good start and we’re delighted so many businesses have already put their faith in this apprentice scheme. I’m sure many more will follow suit over the coming weeks and months.

“The number of young people in Surrey not in education, employment or training (NEET) is very low compared to the national average and we’re committed to driving it down even further. The council’s goal is make sure all young people are in education, employment and training by 2015.”

The head of Virgin Media’s apprenticeship programme Peter van den Broeke said: “Our apprenticeship programme has tremendously benefited Virgin Media. It has injected innovation, new ideas and fresh approaches into the company. I am fully behind Surrey’s drive to encourage more employers to take on apprentices. My advice to employers – just do it.”

Surrey has the second lowest number of young people considered NEET in the country with less than four in a hundred being classed as such. The national average is more than six in a hundred.

Apprenticeships help young people get on the first rung of the career ladder by giving them valuable skills, work experience and qualifications.

Businesses interested in finding out more about taking on an apprentice can email apprenticeships@surreycc.gov.uk. Alternatively call Carol Squires on 01483 735540 or email carol.squires@surrey-chambers.co.uk. For people wishing to apply for an apprenticeship place, a list of current vacancies is available on the National Apprenticeship Service website.

The Association of Learning Providers, Surrey Chambers of Commerce, young people’s charity Surrey SATRO and the National Apprenticeship Service are supporting the campaign.

Ends

Notes for editors

* More than 80 businesses were at the campaign launch at Epsom Racecourse on Tuesday. The target age group for the scheme is 16 to 24 but it is open to older people. Recent research shows apprentices earn an average of £170 a week. On average an apprenticeship lasts around 18 months.

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