Take apprenticeship route to a better future

A growing skills gap has been predicted for the region and a North East organisation is encouraging young people to take up apprenticeships

North East local enterprise partnership is looking to take the lead on skills funding

The North East organisation looking to take the lead on skills funding has told parents an apprenticeship could pave the way for their child’s success.

Across the region a growing skills gap is predicted as some 140,000 highly skilled jobs are identified as needing replacements over the coming years.

Now, the race is on to skill up the next generation, and provide those in employment with the new training needed.

Heading up those efforts is the North East local enterprise partnership, an organisation made up of councils and businesses leaders and headed by the Treasury’s former local government director Ed Twiddy.

He will be working with skill adviser Michelle Duggan to set out how millions of pounds in Government skills cash will be spent from next year.

Ms Duggan said their efforts were based around ensuring workers both now and in future did not have to leave the region to enjoy a successful career.

She said: “Employers really value stem skills, the science, engineering and maths, so we also need to increase the number studying those subjects, which set you up for life.

“We also need to work very closely with employers to see what their demands are going to be, in quite a detailed way.

“Their analysis shows maybe a net job growth of maybe 4,000 in the next 10 years, but replacement demand is about 460,000 over that time, a massive gap, and and we’re talking higher level jobs, in technical and professional, semi-professional jobs in skilled occupations.”

This week The Journal launched a campaign to create a new generation of skilled workers set on maintaining the region’s proud manufacturing base.

The paper has teamed up with companies such as Nissan, Ford Aerospace and British Engines to make apprenticeships a central part of their growth plans, and, crucially, the plans of their supply base.

Those and other firms doing more to encourage a new generation will be highlighted in the weeks ahead, while the local enterprise partnership prepares for the skills funding.

Ms Duggan added: “If you told a parent their child could have a good, satisfying career in the region as a result of an apprenticeship I think they would get it. But we don’t just want to train people up so they can leave, we have the potential for jobs here and we want young people to be able to access them.

“Vocational education is critical, especially employer led training. We can double the number of apprentices, but not at the cost of quality. At the higher end, people can progress quite far in their careers through apprenticeships, as well as being a tool for employers to keep people productive while they learn.

“It’s a great chance to not take three years and £9,000 of fees out of your life, you can earn while you learn and achieve as much as the graduate route.”

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