More than 1,500 youngsters apply for just 28 Norfolk apprentice posts

The desperate fight facing young people looking to get a foot on the career ladder has been demonstrated after more than 1,500 applied for just 28 apprenticeship posts.

The posts were being advertised as part of the first stage in a Norse Group and Norfolk County Council scheme to create 81 apprenticeships in the next year, with the first six beginning last week.

The scheme is being directly aimed at Norfolk's young people not in education, employment or training (Neet) and those at the greatest risk of falling into that bracket and the number of people applying for the posts has been described as proof of just how big an issue this has become.

Norse human resources director Tricia Fuller said: 'It is a sign of the times for young people. It is really difficult for them because they come saying 'I've not got experience, but I've got talent'.

'We are working through this. The issue is we could cherry pick the appointments from fantastically well qualified young people who have their A-levels, but I also want these other groups who are going to struggle to get into work.'

Norfolk County Council has allocated �891,000 to the scheme and the deal will also see Norse Group providing nearly �800,000 of additional investment towards the youngsters' training and development.

Norse is currently working to fill the 22 other posts in the first wave of recruitment and the county council has pledged to create a further 400 apprenticeship places from July.

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Ian Mackie, pictured, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and performance said that the council was determined to support young people and was working hard with the small and medium enterprise business community.

He said: '1,500 applications for 28 jobs is overwhelming. It shows the level of interest in undertaking an apprenticeship and it also shows the level of need.'

Richard Bridgeman, chairman of Warren Services and regional chairman of the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing, who is advising Norfolk County Council cabinet, said: 'There are jobs for those who really want to work. But they have got to be passionate about wanting a job. They have got to put themselves out.'

For more details visit, or call the recruitment line on 01603 894111.