Business across Norfolk have been challenged to employ 213 apprentices by the end of this year as part of a drive to help young people into the world of work.

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Norfolk Chamber of Commerce hope to boost the employment opportunities for enterprising youngsters with the launch of their campaign, Unlock the Potential of Norfolk’s Young People.

As part of the initiative, the chamber will be working directly with schools across the region to help pupils identify what career opportunities are available in different sectors.

And they also hope to fruther boost opportunities for young people by inviting them to chamber events and encouraging businesses to bring their own apprentices for a special rate.

It comes just weeks before the organisation plans to hold a special MPs event next month where a panel of politicians from across Norfolk will discuss how the business community can best help the workforce of the future.

Caroline Williams, chief executive of the chamber, said with the current economic pressures it is important not to forget the next generation of workers.

She said: “I have yet to come across a business that is not willing to be supportive in helping our young people to understand the world of work.

“However, with increasing economic pressures on the business community the Norfolk chamber felt it important that the topic of young people and unlocking their potential stays in the forefront of everyone’s mind.

“Although only a small business ourselves, we employ two apprentices and although to start with additional resources is needed to get them up to speed, their enthusiasm and new ideas definitely makes up for it. Growing your own workforce has many advantages.

“We are very excited about this year’s theme as a greater involvement of young people in Norfolk’s business community can only make us all more successful”

The chamber’s MP Event 2013 will be held at Dunston Hall on Friday February 8 between 3pm and 6.30pm and will bring together Norfolk’s MPs and businesses to discuss three topics: bridging the gap between education and business, opportunities for young people in the Norfolk supply chain and what our young start-up businesses need.

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