Help youngsters on career ladder
Last updated at 11:29, Tuesday, 21 February 2012
IN my new year message I decided that this year I would lay down a challenge to the public and private sector. My challenge was simple – let’s work together and make 2012 the year of the apprentice.
We are incredibly lucky to not only live in a wonderful place, but to also be home to some of lowest unemployment in the UK.
This is something I do not take for granted and work tirelessly to protect. But our issue is a wages issue.
In 2010, the average wage for South Lakeland was £24,928 per year. This was approximately £2,000 lower than the national average.
And house prices are on average around £221,385 and much higher inside the National Parks.
We have to work to provide well paid jobs in our community. We are working on bringing investment to the South Lakes, an example of this is the potential £70m for Gilkes which will help create 500 South Lakes jobs and safeguard a further 250. That is just one of the many projects we are working on. But we must do more.
For me, one way to do that is to provide apprenticeships. This gives people the chance to learn – and gain nationally recognised qualifications – while at the same time getting a weekly wage.
Apprenticeships allow us to offer a real decent alternative to university.
In the last year we have increased apprenticeship take up by 96 per cent.
This is fantastic but it is only the beginning, and I know that by working together there is scope for even greater achievements.
An apprenticeship at Croppers of Burneside, Gilkes at Kendal, Centrica’s proposed new biomass power station in Barrow or joining a hydro start up company could give a young person the skills and contacts to build a career.
The issue is not the young people – they are keen to join apprenticeship schemes; it is businesses or public sector organisations. We do not have enough places. The schemes are massively over-subscribed. We need businesses to come forward and offer more placements.
So to end this article I want to ask you to join me and help a young person take the first step on the career ladder by becoming an apprentice.
I have taken on a young person in my office, could you do the same and offer a valuable opportunity to someone?
If you do, you will transform a young person’s life and in turn they could transform your business.
First published at 10:38, Saturday, 18 February 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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