May 25 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Council bosses hope to create future careers for youngsters in Norfolk by making it easier for them to join a traditional way into work.
Norfolk County Council has launched its Backing Apprenticeships project, which aims to offer more work opportunities for businesses and 16 to 24-year-olds in the region.
This is part of the authority’s £3.5m project, which started last September, to create 400 apprenticeships in two years.
A campaign bus is touring market towns this week and made its first stops at Wymondham and Diss yesterday, with experts on board to offer advice and information about how people can get involved.
Ann Steward, the county council’s cabinet member for economic development, said there is a chance to make the most of the strengths of Norfolk’s developing economy, including agriculture, the energy sector and science, by showing young people what careers are on offer.
And Mrs Steward said the aim is to also help businesses take on new employees to train and, hopefully, employ in the long-term.
She said: “They [young people] have ambition and aspiration, it’s about creating that opportunity.
“Apprenticeships were a way in to work a while ago and it’s about creating that again.
“There are some real well-paid jobs to come into Norfolk – we want them to have them and to maximise their careers.
“It’s also a good opportunity for businesses to come to us to tell us what they are looking for.
“We want the economy to grow, taking on young people is a great way of doing that.
“When they start understanding the industry they want to follow in their career, they become ambitious and want to stay and help a business thrive.”
Figures suggest the number of 16 to 18-year-olds starting an apprenticeship in Norfolk increased between August and October 2012 compared to the same quarter the previous year, while nationally there was a decrease.
Norfolk is also said to have enjoyed a bigger increase too for 19 to 24-year-olds than the national rise.
During National Apprenticeship week, which runs until Friday, the county council aims to further boost numbers.
The authority’s fund supports businesses by subsidising wages for 16 to 24-year-olds taking up apprenticeships and is available to support small and medium-sized businesses which employ fewer than 250 people.
Apprentices have to be employed for at least 30 hours per week and paid at least £2.65 per hour. This is a set government rate and is for under 19s or those in their first year. For apprentices aged 19 or over and past their first year, they are paid the same rate as the minimum wage for their age.
Businesses may also be eligible for a grant of up to £10,000 to help with the costs of employing an apprentice.
Dr Marie Strong, deputy group leader of the county council’s Liberal Democrats, said: “I am delighted we are increasing the level of apprenticeships.
“We, as a county, are doing a lot of things towards this. I am really excited at the range of apprenticeships that are open. What does always concern me is transport – we do need to keep moving on this as so many people live in rural areas.”
Norfolk County Council will eventually have 28 of its own apprentices – 13 have already started and another 15 are to start later in the year.
College of West Anglia, City College Norwich and Broadland District Council Training Services are administering the council’s fund.
Dan Baron, business adviser at City College Norwich, said: “It’s difficult for young people at the moment to get a foot in the door with an employer. An apprentice can get experience and it’s an excellent way in.”
The council is visiting Thetford today and will be at: Warren Services, Fison Way, between 9.30am and 11.30am; Dad’s Army Museum car park, in Cage Lane, from 11.45am to 2pm and Sainsbury’s car park, in London Road, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.
North Walsham is the first stop tomorrow, including Laundry Loke Industrial Estate, in Folgate Road, from 9.30am to 11am, followed by Sainsbury’s car park, in Bacton Road, from 11.30am to 2pm.
This will be followed by Aylsham, in front of the town hall, in Market Place, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.
For more information about the Backing Apprenticeships campaign and National Apprenticeships Week visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/apprenticeships
See your paper every week day this week for more information about the Norfolk Backing Apprenticeships campaign.
Terrorism returned to the streets of London today as two suspected Muslim fanatics butchered a man in broad daylight in the name of “Allah”.
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