Council launches apprentice challenge

By Ian Dipple Friday 11 January 2013 Updated: 11/01 16:44

A NEW scheme is being launched which will challenge Redditch businesses to collectively create at least 50 new apprentice positions to help get people into work.

The Redditch Apprentice Challenge is being led by Redditch Borough Council in a bid to raise awareness of the benefits

apprenticeships have for both individuals and companies. It also aims to highlight the financial support on offer to firms to help with wages and training costs.

The main focus of the scheme will be to get companies and other employers within the borough to make a public commitment to create at least 50 apprenticeships within 50 days. The council is doing its part by creating apprenticeships within its housing and leisure departments, while several high profile companies across Redditch have already indicated they will be taking part in the challenge.

The scheme will be officially launched in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre on January 30 with a public declaration by those companies already committed to creating new apprenticeships. The Standard is also backing the scheme.

Council leader Bill Hartnett said he started his working life as an apprentice in 1974 and it had given him a qualification which had led to a career in manufacturing. But he stressed one of the aims of the challenge was to highlight apprenticeships were not just limited to traditional roles in engineering or mechanics but varied from hairdressing to business administration.

"Being an apprentice myself and seeing the erosion of apprenticeships over the years and the amount of youth unemployment we have in the borough, this is something I feel the council should be taking a lead on and putting this challenge to the wider business community in the town. It gives us a chance to focus on apprenticeships and see if it can be a win-win situation for both the individual and the company," he told the Standard.

"As an apprentice it gave me a qualification and something to put on my CV and show to employers not only was I capable of doing the work but I knew the theory and practical side as well.

"The early indications are businesses will be prepared to come forward and this is not just an opportunity for the big companies but for the small and medium sized employers as well."

Employers interested in finding out more about the challenge ahead of the official launch should contact the North Worcestershire economic development unit by emailing info@nwedr.org.uk or call 0845 601 5953.

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