Success of plan to create apprentices

Chris Armstrong, left, with new business administration apprentice Silvester Weja
Chris Armstrong, left, with new business administration apprentice Silvester Weja

A Wigan Council pledge to help local firms enlist a whole host of new apprentices in a novel Christmas countdown has been hailed a success.

The local authority offered give a cash boost to any borough employer willing to take on a trainee each day from December 1 up to December 23.

It is fantastic to see how local businesses supported our Christmas campaign and that we beat our target with 27 new apprenticeships being taken on.

Coun David Molyneux

And we can reveal today that it more than lived up to its promise with no fewer than 27 schemes helped.

The enterprising advent offer was part of the town hall’s £1.5m Business Apprenticeship Programme which enables employers to access a grant of up to £5,000 to help towards the recruiting and training up of a rookie.

Coun David Molyneux, the authority’s cabinet member for regeneration said: “Wigan Council is leading the way when it comes to supporting apprenticeships.

“The Business Apprenticeship Programme is unique in Greater Manchester and has transformed the lives of hundreds of young people in helping them get their first step on the career ladder.

“It is fantastic to see how local businesses supported our Christmas campaign and that we beat our target with 27 new apprenticeships being taken on. I would like to thank all the businesses who have taken on an apprentice in the borough and shows their commitment to training the workforce of the future. The council will continue to support the recruitment of apprenticeships both in our workforce and in the wider business community.”

One of the businesses which has recruited an apprentice through the Christmas programme is healthcare recruitment consultancy, Lowry Recruitment, based in Marus Bridge and covering the whole of the UK. Silvester Weja is now on a business administration apprenticeship.

The firm’s director Chris Lowry said: “It is the first time I have taken an apprentice and it has been extremely positive so far. I always had slight reservations about taking an apprentice on, mainly because I wrongly presumed that my time would be taken away from running my business to training someone over a long period of time.

“I am extremely surprised at the quality of apprentice looking for work in Wigan borough and actually struggled to choose between a number of high calibre candidates.

“Since hiring Silvester in January, he has fit seamlessly into the Lowry team and is already nearly self-sufficient and adding value to the organisation. By recruiting an apprentice who is happy in his role, I am hoping that long term I can develop his skills and career and he will remain loyal to Lowry recruitment for years to come.”