JTL aids Norfolk apprentices with £100,000 centre

JTL electrical apprentices. Picture submitted

JTL electrical apprentices. Picture submitted - Credit: Archant

A charity hopes to safeguard the future of 35 apprentices by launching a new training centre on the outskirts of Norwich.

JTL has earmarked a site in Bowthorpe to school a large group of electrical apprentices which have faced an uncertain future since the East Anglian Group for Industrial Training (EAGIT) folded in July.

The new venue will mark a £100,000 investment for the organisation and is on course to open at the beginning of next year.

It comes after City College Norwich announced in April that it would take on 160 engineering apprentices from EAGIT to ensure the long-term future of the provision.

Ian Livsey, chairman of JTL, said: 'Whilst we considered alternatives to help the young people involved, we concluded that the best course of action in support of the electrical and associated trades in Norfolk was to establish our own training centre.

'We plan to have the whole new facility up and running by January. At eventual full capacity the intention is to have three cohort groups in each year, representing about 100 apprentices in total.'

JTL was formed in 1990 when the Electrical Contractors' Association forged a partnership with the Unite union.

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Since then, it has grown into one of the largest training providers in England and Wales – previously working with EAGIT to train electricians in Norfolk.

The demise of EAGIT has led JTL to step in to save 13 apprentices in their second year of training, as well 22 new starters due to start their four year programme in October.

'We don't make an investment such as this lightly,' said Mr Livsey, 'but where there is concern in areas of the country that potential partners are unable to meet our expectations we will invest to ensure employers continue to be supported effectively and apprentices are given the opportunity to gain the necessary skills to be successful in the world of work.'

Elsewhere, a spokesman for City College Norwich said its EAGIT apprentices had bedded into the organisation.

He said: 'The transfer of engineering apprenticeships from EAGIT to City College Norwich at the end of July went smoothly and in most

cases these apprentices are now completing their training with the college.

'Some of the apprentices are continuing with an alternative provider closer to their employers' premises.'

EAGIT, which was formed in 1967, said it was forced to close because of its financial position, increased costs of complying with Ofsted requirements, and falling demand for traditional engineering apprenticeships.

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