APPRENTICESHIP schemes in Wigan are increasing as businesses look to strengthen against the stumbling economy.
Last year, apprenticeships were up by 42.9 per cent from the previous year and businesses hope that number will continue to increase in an area recently said to be the fifth worst town in the North West for youth unemployment of 18-24-year-olds.
The news comes as the Government pledged to create 100,000 new apprenticeships by 2014 and this week sees the launch of the new initiative, National Apprenticeship Week.
One company which has successfully championed the scheme is Wallgate-based Tudor Northwest Ltd. The company, which carries out plumbing, heating and electrical services as well as other engineering and facilities work currently have six apprentices on their books and managing director Arthur Naylor believes that apprenticeships good for all.
He said: “Since we set up in 1995, we have tried to take on apprentices from the local area. It helps us develop a long-term plan as not only does it provide work for the community and boost the local economy, it secures jobs for the future and also helps companies benefit.
“I speak to too many companies who only offer short-term apprenticeships which is narrow-minded and detrimental to everybody involved.
“Through properly supervised long-term apprenticeships, there is a bigger skill pool, which in turn makes for a more competitive rate, so there is sense behind it. At Tudor we try to provide all types of apprenticeship from trades to office staff, as we want them to understand the quality we try to deliver.”
One person benefiting from the scheme is 17-year-old Ryan O’Donnell from Hindley. Ryan is currently a year and a half into a three-and-a-half-year heating and ventilation apprenticeship at Tudor.
He said: “I left school and wanted to learn and earn at the same time. I am learning good skills, with a guaranteed job at the end of it and scope to learn even more recognised qualifications in the future.”
Another apprentice at Tudor is 23-year-old Anna Bridge of Ashton. Anna decided she didn’t want to go to university due to the fear of being in debt and is now three-and-a-half years into her accountancy apprenticeship.
She said: “I got a job as an office admin assistant and since then I have had the chance to gain my accountancy qualifications whilst earning money and not getting in debt. I’d recommend it to anybody.”
Sue Price, regional director for the National Apprenticeship Service in the North West says: “Apprenticeship Week gives us the opportunity to engage and persuade employers of the advantages of employing and supporting apprentices in their workplace. I truly believe that apprenticeships should be the natural choice for employers and their staff.
“Apprentices make a valuable contribution to your business by enabling you to recruit and train new employees or train your existing staff. They can support employees age 16- 65 and are not just for young people.
“Apprenticeships are an invaluable opportunity to gain professional qualifications and training while earning a wage. Employers welcome practical skills and experience when recruiting, so doing an apprenticeship is a great way to safeguard your future by going into employment while continuing your education and development.”
For more information visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk