Council approves new ways to grow local apprenticeships

County Councillors have approved a report that proposes how best to promote and grow apprenticeships across Gloucestershire.

apprentices

At a full council meeting council members unanimously agreed recommendations put forward by the Cllr Pau Hodgkinson and the ‘ Apprenticeship task group’. The proposals include doing more to put apprenticeships at the forefront of people’s minds earlier in a young persons’ school career.

To help inform the report, the task group ran a number of focus groups with employers, schools, training providers and young people to discover the challenges facing apprenticeships. Employers across Gloucestershire were also surveyed about their experiences.

The group discovered three key issues facing apprenticeships in the county; the perception of apprenticeships among some teachers, schools, young people and parents does not match reality, young people need high quality career advice and support to develop the skills they need to start their careers in the workplace and employers need to be better informed, supported and encouraged to take on apprentices. The task group then looked into ways to tackle these issues.

The apprenticeship task group was set up following a motion to council in June 2014 led by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton & Northleach) who has also chaired the cross-party initiative:

“When I proposed last year that we set up a task force to boost the number of apprenticeships locally I didn’t realise just how much we could achieve in a short time. Working cross-party we have seen that there’s a lot of work to be done to get the message out loud and clear that apprenticeships are a brilliant way to enter the world of work.

“Now, we have come up with a set of recommendations which will give employers, schools and young people much more information about how to become an apprentice. Many employers have issues in finding the right people for roles and so getting people equipped with the right skills through apprenticeships is one way to help address this.”

Using their knowledge of apprenticeships in the county the group has also been able to provide valuable advice to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) on its commissioning of an apprenticeship hub.

Since 2010, 15560 apprenticeships have been created in the county.

2,200 people in the Cotswolds help hit apprenticeship goal

Two million apprenticeships have been created in the UK since 2010 with 2,200 people in the Cotswolds getting a vital start in life.

Paul Hodgkinson (right) with successful apprentice Jordan McKenna

Paul Hodgkinson (right) with successful apprentice Jordan McKenna

Prospective MP Paul Hodgkinson said apprenticeships offered by companies such as Renishaw in Wotton under Edge and St James’s Place in Cirencester have performed a crucial role in the local economy.

Cllr Hodgkinson is heading up a task group at the County Council aimed at bossting the number of apprentices across Gloucestershire:

“Apprenticeships are a vital part of building a stronger economy and a fairer society. By ensuring young people are able to earn and learn, we give them the opportunity to get on it life.

“That is why I’m delighted young people in the Cotswolds have benefitted from fantastic training and employment opportunities that apprenticeships offer.

“I’ve seen for myself, by speaking to Jordan McKenna who was an apprentice at Cirencester Housing, the benefit apprenticeships can give to young people and I’m delighted that over a thousand people from our area have been able to take advantage.”

Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills Vince Cable MP said:

“Reaching the two millionth apprenticeship in the UK is testament to our commitment to apprenticeships. Apprenticeships give young people the chance to start a career and give businesses the talent to grow.

“This isn’t just about numbers. From space engineering, to TV production, to legal services, apprenticeships are the ticket to a great job and a route employers trust to access the skills they need.”

Call for County Council to boost apprenticeships

On the back of a record number of apprenticeships across Gloucestershire, the County Council is being urged to go one step further.

Paul Hodgkinson (right) with successful Cirencester apprentice Jordan McKenna

Paul Hodgkinson (right) with successful Cirencester apprentice Jordan McKenna

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton and Northleach) is recommending that the Council should create a cross-party task force, which would work with businesses in the county encouraging them to recruit more apprentices.

The council itself recruited 20 new apprentices, with plans for additional recruitment scheduled for later in the year.

At a full council meeting on Wednesday, 25 June, Cllr Hodgkinson will present a motion calling for a special Task Force to be set up to boost apprenticeship. He will reference recent figures which show that Gloucestershire has benefitted from 15,560 new apprenticeships since 2010.

Cllr Hodgkinson said: “The continued growth of the number of apprentices across Gloucestershire since the Lib Dems came into Government shows our commitment to building a stronger economy in a fairer society.

“In the Cotswolds area alone 1,860 new apprentices have been started. However, more can be done to make sure that this number continues to grow across the county.

“Apprenticeships can be a great alternative to university for people, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to be able to get a foot in the door with a local employer.

“By bringing county councillors from all parties to talk with employers, apprentices and schools, we can make sure that those young people who want a way to gain a skill have as many opportunities to do so as possible.

“That’s why I am calling for a new task force to really promote apprenticeships across Gloucestershire.”

Apprentice Week boosts opportunities in the Cotswolds

National Apprentice Week was held last week and Cllr Paul Hodgkinson is already seeing a boost in opportunities for young people in the Cotswolds.

Jordan McKenna (left) with Paul Hodgkinson in Cirencester.

Jordan McKenna (left) with Paul Hodgkinson in Cirencester.

Speaking in Cirencester, Cllr Hodgkinson sees the initiative as a way of getting people into jobs:

“The huge increase in the number of apprentices since the Lib Dems came into Government is something to really celebrate. In the Cotswolds there have been many new apprenticeships each year since 2010. There can be a pressure to go to university but apprenticeships offer a way for young people to get a skill or foot in the door with a company which then translates into a job.

Cllr Hodgkinson, the Prospective MP for the area, met with one successful apprentice in Cirencester this week to talk about how he had made the transition from apprentice to full time employee.

Jordan McKenna, 21, was taken on as an apprentice by Cirencester Housing Society and is now working permanently for the organisation as a Housing Officer. Mr McKenna described his experience as ‘a great way to get into the industry’.

Latest figures for the Cotswolds show that over a thousand apprentices have been taken on by local companies since the Coalition Government was formed. Cllr Hodgkinson welcomed the change:

“Meeting Jordan showed me just how positive this can be. I know from speaking to local bosses that they would like to take on apprentices and I will continue to work for more opportunities like this to be created.”