General, Young people

Council apprentice campaign hits halfway mark

A campaign backed by Skills Minister John Hayes to get teenagers into work has hit the halfway mark weeks after being launched.

Surrey County Council leader David Hodge unveiled the scheme offering businesses a cash incentive to hire 200 apprentices eight weeks ago.

Already 62 businesses have been handed the £1,500 grant to hire a teenage apprentice with another 45 just waiting for their bid to be rubber-stamped.

Surrey County Council leader David Hodge

Employers across Surrey* have come forward to offer under-19s roles in carpentry, hairdressing and administration.

Others are creating apprenticeships in customer services, child care and plumbing.

The council set the 200 apprenticeship target as part of a drive to stimulate economic growth that has also seen plans put in place to combat the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)**.

Firms chasing deals with the authority have been asked to agree to hiring apprentices aged 16 to 24 in bids and proposals have been unveiled to develop up to 20 skills centres to give NEETs basic vocational training.

This followed a pledge from the council to take on 100 apprenticeships in a year itself after successfully spearheading a campaign to fill 200 places at Surrey businesses in 100 days.

Mr Hodge said: “I’m thrilled with the progress so far and I fully expect more businesses to sign up in the coming weeks.

Cabinet Member for Community Safety Kay Hammond

“We’re also playing our part by asking firms to include apprentices in bids for contracts and committing the council to hiring 100 young trainees in a year and this news is a further boost for Surrey’s teenagers.”

Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety Kay Hammond said: “It’s fantastic that so many firms are coming forward.

“As well as helping businesses develop talent and reap the benefits of a more productive workforce, apprenticeships give people a great opportunity to get started on their chosen career path, earn and improve their future prospects.”

Businesses wanting to find out more can contact Chris Bussicott on 01483 519342 or email chris.bussicott@surreycc.gov.uk.

* Including Anstruther in Reigate (hairdresser), Designer Electrical in Guildford (electrician) and Leo Bancroft in Weybridge (customer service).

** Surrey has one of the 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.

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