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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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RECORD BREAKERS

THIS year’s new intake of apprentices at Lillyhall’s Gen II Training has reached an all-time high.

More than 240 young people started their training with the provider this month.

The induction period, which started on September 5, saw them take in the facilities and state-of-the-art workshop at the Energus building where they will be based for the next three-and-a-half years.

The new recruits started their training proper two weeks ago in apprenticeships including electrical, mechanical, fitting, design and instrumentation.

The highest numbers yet have not proved a surprise as the rising cost of university fees and dwindling job opportunities for graduates mean apprenticeships are rapidly growing in popularity, according to the trainees.

Stevie Dudding, 19, of Calder Bridge, is undertaking a higher education apprenticeship after leaving university last year. The former Westlakes Academy student, said: “I studied biomedical science at Northumbria University for one year but didn’t really enjoy the course.

“I got into debt as well, so the appeal of earning while I’m being trained is a big reason behind me joining Gen II.

“It’s very exciting to be starting my apprenticeship this week as Gen II is renowned as being the best for training especially if you want to stay and build a career in the area.”

Georgia Rumney, 17, of Corporation Road, Workington has started a mechanical design apprenticeship.

She said: “I spent one year at Workington Sixth Form but I soon realised I didn’t want to go to university, I wanted more experience in the workplace instead.

“I already know of people who had trained through Gen II and news of rising university fees cemented an apprenticeship in my mind.

“There will be a lot of opportunities open to me after I finish my apprenticeship with Gen II. I won’t have to worry as much about finding a job compared to what I would have as a graduate.

“A lot of our friends are going to university this year but I think students will start to take apprenticeships a lot more seriously when the fees go up.

“I think people are starting to realise now that there’s no point in going through three or four years of university to not get a job at the end of it.”

Siobhan Wood, 17, of Arlecdon, is a machining and fitting apprentice.

She said she hopes to start a career at Sellafield once she has finished her apprenticeship.

“I left college to start an apprenticeship with Gen II. There are plenty of opportunities for young people in this area and the majority of them seem to be in the nuclear and energy sector.

“Those opportunities are going to come from getting top training here at Gen II.

“A lot of jobs are now being found in the private sector so for that you need to be skilled in those kinds of industry jobs.

“I would love to end up starting a career at Sellafield - there are a lot of opportunities to work up the ladder there.”

Scott Thompson, 18, of Broughton Moor, has started an electrical apprenticeship.

He said he was always sure of training through an apprenticeship as he wanted to gain a trade.

“I have always wanted to work with my hands so an apprenticeship was always on the cards for me,” the former Netherhall student said.

“My goal is to be at Sellafield once I finish my apprenticeship. I have family already there who are earning the kind of money that a graduate of the same age would not be able to catch up to.

“University is not always what it’s cracked up to be.”

The apprentices were also welcomed on their induction by Workington MP Tony Cunningham.

He said the apprentices will be based at some of the world’s best training facilities right here in West Cumbria.

“Training these young people here at Energus will set them up for the potential 10,000 jobs that will become available from nuclear new-build in this area,” he said.

“They are all the future of West Cumbria and it nice to see so many young people here with bright prospects ahead of them.

“The future of nuclear and renewables wouldn’t be possible without them all.

“I met with a national company this week which is looking to invest major money in this area and I was asked what skills were available in the region. All I had to do was tell them of the work going on in West Cumbria and right here at Energus.

“Malcolm Wilson of M-Sport has told me the training facilities here at Energus are the best he’s seen in the world.

“We can have these fine training facilities but we need fine young people like yourselves to take forward the future of this area. Cumbria’s future belongs to you from today and it’s your responsibility to make sure you deliver that bright future.”

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