East Anglia employers will recruit more graduates and apprentices, says CBI

Apprentice working with an employer. Picture: Archant stock

Apprentice working with an employer. Picture: Archant stock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

East Anglia's employers will bolster their staff by hiring more graduates and apprentices this year, according to an industry body.

Picture shows Richard Tunnicliffe regional director of the CBIFor EDP

Picture shows Richard Tunnicliffe regional director of the CBIFor EDP

More than half of the firms quizzed about their recruitment plans said their workforces would increase in 2015, with many looking to create positions suited to young people, a study by the CBI and Accenture found.

The findings, which included a sample of 100 businesses in the east of England, revealed that 55pc of firms expected to take on more workers, with 40pc increasing their permanent positions and 28pc rolling out more temporary work.

Meanwhile, 48pc want to increase their apprenticeship intake, 48pc said they would higher more graduates and 83pc expect to have more roles for 16 to 24 year olds, the employment trends survey revealed.

It comes as the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance fell 40pc in December as the region's employment picture showed further signs of strength.

Across Norfolk, north Suffolk and east Cambridgeshire the claimant count dropped from 18,890 to 11,152 in December compared to the same time last year.

Richard Tunnicliffe, director of CBI East of England, said: 'Firms in the east of England are gearing up for a positive 2015 with over half planning to create jobs, most of which will be permanent.

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'Young people should find more chances to get a foot on the career ladder this year, with many firms looking to boost their intake of graduates and apprentices.

'We want to see everyone enjoy the rewards of the recovery and the east of England has a big role in driving the UK economy forward. Growth should work for everyone, and skills are the key route to ensuring that this happens through improved productivity and pay.'

National results from the survey showed that 43pc of firms are planning a pay rise in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI), with low level of skills and the burden of employment regulation pinpointed as the greatest threat to UK competitiveness.

Olly Benzecry, managing director for management consultants Accenture, said: 'It's important that growth works for everyone, which means regions throughout the UK benefitting from the economic recovery and employers opening up different and more inclusive routes into their workforces.

'It's very encouraging to hear that businesses in the east of England are planning to build their workforces in the future by taking on more young people, including apprentices.

'It is also good to note that, within this mix, companies are recognising that they can enhance their competitiveness by harnessing the digital capabilities of these young people.'

• Do you have a business story for the Eastern Daily Press? Contact business editor Ben Woods on 01603 772426 or email ben.woods@arcahnt.co.uk