A TRAINING provider is doing its bit to reduce rising youth unemployment after securing placements for 21 youngsters in 21 days as part of a new ICT apprenticeship scheme.
County Durham-based Baltic Training Services recently diversified into ICT apprenticeships after specialising in industrial, administrative and customer service training, with the aim of improving the employability of the region’s tech-savvy youngsters.
Since launching the scheme, Baltic, which is based in Newton Aycliffe, has managed to help 21 learners into permanent employment within 21 days at some of the UK’s most high-profile financial, technology and legal firms.
As part of their training, the apprentices develop customer support skills and time management and team working skills as they provide IT support to businesses in Hartlepool-based Peart Group, which owns Baltic.
The training provider is now forming links with other UK employers that could benefit from the ICT scheme.
As well as running the ICT programme, Baltic provides training in business administration, customer services and several industrial areas such as driver, warehousing and storage and manufacturing training.
Baltic’s contracts manager, Ian Barrett, said: “We work on the employability skills as well as the technical requirements of the apprenticeship and offer additional vendor qualifications which make apprentices more attractive to employers.
“Our aim is to ensure we align the training and academic requirements of young people with the needs of employers.
“We have created a programme that develops apprentices to ensure they are work-ready and to add value to an organisation on completion of their apprenticeship.
“We look for apprentices with a desire to work in the ICT industry and a drive to learn new things.
“This means that companies that offer placements to our course graduates not only have the technical knowledge required to succeed but are also enthusiastic about putting their learning in to practice.
“Tackling youth unemployment does not work with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We need to allow controlled innovation in supporting a young person’s first steps into the jobs market at a time of record youth unemployment.” Anthony Richardson, 19, and from Gateshead, is among the apprentices to have improved their job prospects through the ICT programme.
Having spent some time working in a fast food chain before enrolling on the programme, he is now working as a tech support agent.
He said: “The time I spent with Baltic really gave me confidence and helped me to mature as a person. The apprenticeship has given me good inspiration in life because of what the course taught me about how to communicate with people in a different manner.”
The Journal’s 500 in 100 campaign is also helping to increase the number of apprenticeship positions in the North East, with 424 trainees already signed up at the halfway point.
The campaign, launched in association with the National Apprenticeship Service and supported by the North East Chamber of Commerce, broke its previous target of 100 apprentices in under three weeks and is now within striking distance of its new target, with six weeks left to go.