Opportunities knock

By <b>Ian Dipple Friday 11 July 2014 Updated: 11/07 09:07

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Buy photos » Karen Lumley MP and Kingfisher Centre manager Ken Williams launch the Apprenticeship and Skills Fair. Picture by Alex Bradbury 2814007ABR

MORE than 100 people could be on their way to a new career thanks to an apprenticeship fair run by the town’s MP.

A total of 25 businesses, training companies and colleges attended the event in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre last Friday (July 4).

There were close to 500 people expressing an interest in the opportunities on offer throughout the day with 125 of those set to be pursued further.

The day was hosted by Redditch MP Karen Lumley and follows on from two previous jobs fairs and a funding fair she has staged in the last four years.

Mrs Lumley said she wanted to focus on apprenticeships as a way of raising awareness among young people of the alternatives to a university education.

“Obviously a good education is extremely important but there are some young people who want to follow a different route and want more vocational training and in my view apprenticeships are the best way forward,” she said.

“There are opportunities for a great career and there’s money to be made. I’m keen young people see the opportunities there are on both sides of the fence.”

Among the companies present was Jaguar Land Rover which is currently looked to recruit between 150 and 180 apprenticeships each year.

Jon Moles and Dan Cushing have been part of the company’s apprenticeship programme since September 2012 and are earning £300 plus a week after tax. They both said they had considered university but were deterred by the £9,000 a year tuition fees.

Jon said: “I’d recommend an apprenticeship at Jaguar Land Rover to anyone. There’s no other job like it, every day is different and you are always learning.”

Dan added: “It’s more useful than going to university and if I wanted to get a degree JLR will sponsor me to do it so I can get a degree while working and have a job after I finish.”

McDonald’s stores in Redditch, Alcester, Northfield and Stratford have created 40 apprenticeships over the last three years, offering basic training as well as qualifications in Maths and English.

Steve Stone, people manager for the group of stores, said: “It upskills those employees who perhaps did not do well at school but the flip side of that is we have those who go on to management and make a career out of it. Of the 40 apprentices about 30 have progressed further either within McDonald’s or elsewhere.”

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