South Norfolk housing association launches new apprenticeship project

PUBLISHED: 16:53 25 October 2012

Social entrepreneur Robert Ashton

Social entrepreneur Robert Ashton


Hopes of getting more school leavers into the world of work have been boosted by the creation of a new apprenticeship scheme in south Norfolk.

Saffron Housing Trust has invested £90,000 into the project, which will enable 20 local businesses to take on their first apprentice next year.

The South Norfolk-based housing association has pledged to recruit and employ up to 20 apprentices and send them out to local businesses.

The trust, which manages around 5,000 homes in Norfolk has offered to provide full HR support and training throughout the length of the apprenticeship.

The Saffron Apprenticeship Programme also involves Broadland Council Training Services (BCTS), Diss High School and social entrepreneur Robert Ashton.

Stuart Tinkler, assistant director at Saffron Housing said: “We employ apprentices ourselves and know how important it is to grow tomorrow’s workforce, but we also know how daunting it can be for local businesses to take on their first apprentice.

“We’ll reduce the workload for local businesses by making it simple and straightforward for them to have an apprentice. The businesses will only pay for the time the apprentices are working with them.”

Business that get involved in the scheme will have an apprentice working with them four days a week with the remaining day spent off-site studying.

Mr Ashton will work with Saffron to finalise the programme details as well as recruit and support the participating businesses.

He said: “This apprenticeship will provide a fantastic framework for a young person to learn new skills whilst helping to grow the business; the apprentices can give an immediate return on investment as well as literally growing their own jobs for the future.”

Saffron will be launching the new apprenticeship programme at Diss High School to current Year 11 students.

Jan Hunt, headteacher at Diss High said: “We already have a pretty good idea which students will be best suited for this programme. By getting businesses and Saffron involved now, we can make sure that everyone has the chance to get to know each other and explore the options at a comfortable pace. That way the right student will start the right apprenticeship with the right business for them.”

Saffron already partners BCTS as part of their existing apprenticeship programme and last month Saffron Housing trainee apprentices Tom Cuthbert and Nick Reeder were jointly named Apprentice of the Year at the Council Training Services awards.

If you run a local business in South Norfolk and would like more information on the apprenticeship programme, contact John Whitelock, Saffron director of new Business on 01508 532046 or email him at jwhitelock@saffronhousing.co.uk

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