Employers taking up apprentice challenge

More than 1,600 new apprenticeships and training opportunities have been created in the North East in a little over 14 weeks

For many companies, apprenticeships are a critical way of training young people

More than 1,600 new apprenticeships and training opportunities have been created in the North East in a little over 14 weeks.

The North East Chamber of Commerce and partners the National Apprenticeship Service, launched the 100 Days Apprenticeship Challenge to highlight the importance of apprentices in the modern workplace and encourage more firms to consider recruitment.

It ended on July 30 with 950 employers signing up to the Challenge, creating 1,257 new roles within businesses and supporting a further 400 existing staff members in new training opportunities. Of this, 252 were generated by NECC, compared to 222 last year.

NECC chief executive James Ramsbotham said: “It is fantastic to see so many businesses taking up the apprenticeship challenge and I’d like to congratulate and thank everyone who did. Each year, we wonder if our firms will have the same appetite for apprenticeships as the one before and each year that appetite grows stronger.

“Companies have been quick to realise the potential of apprenticeships and the opportunity to mould keen young learners into roles within their businesses. Likewise with the introduction of university fees, more and more young people are seeing apprenticeships as the ideal way to take that first step on to the career ladder.

“This is a fantastic campaign that achieves excellent results. NECC and our partners encourage all businesses to consider investing in apprenticeship programmes. Hopefully, the 100 Day Challenge will further raise awareness of, and interest in apprenticeships.”

The National Apprenticeship Service is delighted by the success of this year’s 100 Days Apprenticeship Challenge.

Alan Wallace, head of employer accounts, said: “When we launched the 100 Day Apprenticeship Challenge back in April, our aim was to create a campaign which would make a positive difference and offer real tangible benefits to the region’s employers, young people and to the local economy. Some 1,657 apprenticeships later and there is no doubt we have achieved all this and more.

“Apprenticeships provide real business benefits. They bring productive, enthusiastic and loyal people into an organisation and demonstrate a commitment to investing in people. This year, we focussed on creating new roles for 16 to 24-year-olds and over 75% of the recorded starts were brand new positions for this age group. Apprenticeships will play a vital part in driving sustainable economic growth in the region.”

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