Landmark boost for Norwich For Jobs

Apprentices glad to welcome potential recruits

Apprentices glad to welcome potential recruits - Credit: Archant

As the Norwich For Jobs campaign passed a fresh landmark achievement, a leading city firm was this week preparing to give it a further significant boost.

Since the initiative to drive down youth unemployment was launched at the end of January last year, local employers have now pledged more than 1,000 jobs and apprentices in support of it.

And fresh momentum will be injected into year two of the jobs drive when campaign supporter KLM UK Engineering hosts its annual Apprentices Day on Saturday.

The latest landmark, announced at a meeting of the campaign steering group, follows last month's signing up of the 100th employer to pledge their commitment.

City MP Chloe Smith, who harnessed the support of businesses, partners such as Norwich Jobs Centre and young people themselves in launching the campaign, said: 'We are very pleased that so many employers have pledged to this campaign and we are asking for the same again in the second year to smash our target [of halving youth unemployment in the city].

'If you are hearing this news and have not yet had a chance to pledge to the campaign, please give it a look. We can help you find the talent you need for your business from among Norwich's unemployed young people. Most important of all, every one of these figures is not a statistic but a real person gaining experience and starting to take home a pay packet.'

KLM's Apprentices Day will signal the start of the recruitment process to find a new batch of trainee mechanics to fill places on its flagship four-year training programme.

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More than 100 young people have already booked to visit the Norwich Airport-based firm's hangars – but there is still room for more to register.

Managing director Arjan Meijer, said: 'Our advanced level 3 aeronautical engineering apprenticeship remains an extremely important future source of recruitment for our company. The industry still has a major projected shortage of aircraft engineers so this scheme is very important to us.'

Last year's recruitment drive resulted in a record intake of 13 new apprentices, including 16-year-olds who left school with GCSEs and 18-year-olds with A levels. Others had been to college or university.

One of the most recent apprentices taken on, Charlie Sutton, 17, of Dereham, was thrilled to have landed himself such a prestigious earn-while-you-learn role, straight from high school. He said: 'It's one of those careers you talk about but never expect to get the opportunity to take up.'

Ten percent of KLM UK Engineering's 400-strong workforce started as apprentices and several ex-apprentices are now in management positions.

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