A campaign to boost the number of teenagers finding work with Surrey businesses has hit its target four months early.
In July, Surrey County Council set a goal of filling 200 apprentice places before the end of next March.
Under the scheme unveiled by Surrey leader David Hodge and backed by Skills Minister John Hayes firms were offered a cash incentive to help under-19s get on the career ladder.
A raft of employers have responded by committing to creating roles in carpentry, hairdressing and business administration. Others came forward to fill apprenticeships in customer services, child care and plumbing*.
The initiative was launched 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)**.
Mr Hodge said: “Reaching the 200 target with four months left of the time we allotted is fantastic news. It is a huge boost for teenagers as well as helping businesses to develop talent.
“It’s vital we do all we can to create jobs and opportunities for the next generation. Whether the jobs are in customer services, administration or a trade, we’re doing all we can to ensure teenagers can get on in their chosen careers.”
Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for apprenticeships, said: “Employers have really risen to the challenge. Together we’re making Surrey stronger because apprenticeships provide young people with the skills they need, boost businesses’ profits and drive growth in the economy.”
* Including A J Gooden in Guildford (plumbing), Hazeltots Nursery in Guildford (child care), Morgan Prestwich in Reigate (business administration), TFY in Reigate (business administration) and Wilson Property Services in Staines (construction).
** Surrey has one of the lowest numbers of young people considered NEET in the country with four in a hundred being classed as such. The national average is nearly six in a hundred.