Apprentice plan gathers support

A NEW scheme in Scarborough to create 100 apprenticeships in the town has got off to a flying start.

The Evening News, the National Apprenticeship Service and Scarborough Borough Council have joined forces to get as many businesses as possible involved in the North Yorkshire Coast Apprenticeship Challenge.

The aim of the initiative is to get 100 pledges in 100 days from employers to recruit an apprentice.

Since the project was launched on March 17 there have already been 21 pledges from 10 different businesses.

These include Yorkshire Coast College, The Glass House Cafe Bistro and North Bay Railway, Stephen Joesph Theatre, Plaxton, Beiderbeckes, Deepdale Computers, Dale Power and Hares.

David Humphreys, managing director of the North Bay Railway Company Ltd, said he was delighted to be involved.

The railway’s first apprentice, Stephen Johnson, is now a full-time member of staff and a new apprentice will be taken on from September.

The bistro will also be taking on an apprentice, hopefully from next month.

Mr Humphreys said: “I think it’s important for the whole country to get involved in apprenticeships, because if we don’t skills will be lost.

“Traditional skills need to be passed on to the next generation, so I’m very much an advocate of the scheme.”

He added that if the Government offered businesses tax relief, more companies would be able to take on many more apprentices.

A number of local training providers, including Yorkshire Coast College and Derwent Training, are supporting the campaign and are ready to help employers with high quality training.

Nick Wilson, regional director for the National Apprenticeship Service, said that apprenticeships were gaining more popularity and fast becoming a chosen route for business growth.

He said: “In an increasingly competitive world, apprenticeships are one of the very best and most cost-effective ways for employers to grow their own talent.”

The value and volume of apprenticeships is growing rapidly and the Government has made an additional 50,000 places available now.

Through the challenge, companies can learn the key business benefits of apprenticeships to employers and see how easy it is to take part.

To find out more and register your pledge to join the challenge drop in to a special event tomorrow between 4pm and 7pm at The Palm Court Hotel, Scarborough, call 08000 150600 or visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

The National Apprenticeship Service will be on hand at the event and can provide expert, impartial advice and support to employers by phone or by an advisor visit to help select the appropriate type of apprenticeship and a training provider to help deliver the training.

It also operates a web-based recruitment system at www.apprenticeships.org.uk that enables potential apprentices to search for opportunities.

Comment – page 6