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Thousands of careers kick-started in Staffordshire as number of apprenticeships grows

Thousands of people continue to get their foot on the career ladder as the number of apprenticeships continues to grow while boosting the local economy.

Over the past 10 years the number of people in Staffordshire starting a new apprenticeship has almost trebled from 3,830 to 9,310 in 2015. Higher level apprenticeships equivalent to a degree are also on the increase with more being introduced in the past year.

Latest initiatives such as the Ladder for Staffordshire, the annual Apprenticeship Graduation Ceremony and the Apprenticeship Ambassador Networks are all helping boost the number of young people and businesses opting for an apprenticeship.

Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills at Staffordshire County Council said:

We are making huge progress in increasing the number of apprenticeships here in Staffordshire. Not only are we giving people excellent career prospects, we’re making sure our local businesses have access to a skilled workforce that they will need for future growth.

“The number of higher level apprenticeships including those in high-tech engineering is also on the up which is good news as many of the future jobs will be in this sector.

“With increasing job opportunities in the county and unemployment at an all-time low, it’s vital that we continue to develop our workforce and apprenticeships are key to this.”

Hayden Williamson is 23 and is a higher apprentice with Staffordshire engineering firm KMF. Hayden said:

Doing an advanced apprenticeship has given me endless opportunities.  It has enabled me to earn while I learn, as well as giving me invaluable experience in engineering which has helped me on my career ladder into the role that I now have in promoting apprenticeships and supporting schools with STEM projects.  And, now being able to do a university qualification which is paid for by the company is setting me up for life.  Apprenticeships are a great option and I’d definitely encourage young people to consider doing one.”

21-year-old Tom Hassall from Stone is a Level 2 Highways Maintenance apprentice with Amey. Tom, who’s one year into his apprenticeship said:

I love my apprenticeship and love the work I do. I enjoy being hands on and working outside so a job in highways maintenance is perfect for me and every day is different. The best thing about my apprenticeship is that I get to learn from actually doing the job and I get paid at the same time. There’s also some theory which I have to learn as well but my favourite bit is getting out on the roads and putting it into practice. I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship to other young people.”

Staffordshire County Council’s own apprenticeship scheme has also recruited 683 apprentices over the past 5 years; 447 at level 2 Intermediate and 236 Level 3 Advanced apprentices.

Olivia Wilce, aged 22, has just completed a Level 3 apprenticeship with the county council and now helps find work placements for people looking to get back into work. Olivia said:

I chose to do a business administration apprenticeship because I knew it would allow me to get qualifications and gain experience whilst being paid, which sounded like the perfect path for me.

“Since then, I’ve completed both my Level 2 and Level 3 and was delighted to be offered a permanent position with my role developing every day. The Apprenticeship option has given me the opportunity to further my skills and knowledge for a career in business.”

32-year-old Carly Davies is an apprentice working in the transformation team at the county council. Carly said:

Doing an apprenticeship has given me a great opportunity to learn new skills and techniques on the job.  I’ve always been interested in business and how different processes can be improved and I’m now supporting colleagues with that which I really enjoy.  I’m very lucky.  My team have been incredibly helpful, supporting me and helping me learn new things.  Apprenticeships really are a great way of kick starting your career.”

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE added:

Apprenticeships remain a vital part of our strategy to bring growth and prosperity to Staffordshire, and are giving local businesses the opportunity to grow their own talented and skilled workforce.

“Excellent progress has already been made in the number of apprentices being taken on across the county, but I would like to see even more companies realise the many benefits to be had by recruiting apprentices.  We hope to increase apprenticeship starts from 11,500 to 80,000 over the next 5 years.”

For more information on apprenticeships visit www.staffordshire.gov.uk/brightfutures