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Norfolk to give a boost to apprenticeships

PUBLISHED: 10:17 02 February 2011 | UPDATED: 10:46 02 February 2011

B3, the Norwich call centre business that is recruiting lots of apprentices. Apprentice Angie Thomas at work.

B3, the Norwich call centre business that is recruiting lots of apprentices. Apprentice Angie Thomas at work.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010

For a long time there has been a certain stigma attached to the term apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship Facts

- Michelangelo was the first documented and paid apprentice.

- The number of people who started apprenticeships from August 2009 to July 2010 is 3,888 in Norfolk, 23,731 in the east of England, and 279,700 nationally.

- Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete, depending on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentices’ ability and the industry sector.

- Government funding is available for the cost of training apprentices.

However, now an organisation in Norfolk is hitting back by launching The Challenge Norfolk 100 in 100 campaign.

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) in partnership with other organisations, including the EDP, is about to embark on an ambitious campaign to increase the number of apprenticeship opportunities on offer in Norfolk by making businesses and potential apprentices aware of the benefits of taking on apprentices.

Teresa Logan, employer services director for the NAS said: “There has never been a more crucial time for employers in Norfolk to engage with apprenticeships.

“They are vital to the future success of the region’s businesses and to the local economy.

The difference it makes

Research from Populus (February 2009) showed that:

- 80pc of those who employ apprentices agree that they make the work place more productive.

- 83pc of employers who employ apprentices rely on their apprenticeships programme to provide workers with what they need.

- 81pc of consumers would prefer to use a company that employs apprentices.

- 8pc of employers who employ apprentices believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.

“In an increasingly competitive world, no business can afford not to invest in skills training and apprenticeships are one of the very best and most cost-effective ways 
for employers to grow their own talent.”

The Challenge Norfolk 100 in 100 campaign will launch during Apprenticeship Week next week.

One of those who has already taken up an apprenticeship placement is Paris Needham.

The 18-year-old moved to Norwich from Kent in 2009 to embark on an apprenticeship with B3, a new Norwich call-centre company, after leaving school without any formal qualifications.

She learned about the job at her local Connexions centre and being offered the chance to earn a wage as well as gaining a qualification appealed to her.

She said: “When I lived in Kent I wouldn’t have bothered with doing an apprenticeship – I had no interest and could see no benefit. Since starting on my apprenticeship, my communication skills have really improved and I’m much 
more confident when dealing with people.

“I feel really proud of my achievements. If you are given the chance of doing an apprenticeship, then take it, enjoy it, learn from it and benefit from it.”

Britain has a long history of apprenticeships, which stretches back to the guilds of the Middle Ages.

Since the mid-1990s, governments have been rebuilding apprentice programmes and in January 2008 NAS was announced and officially launched in April 2009. The primary focus for NAS is to make it as easy as possible for employers to take on an apprentice, by streamlining the application process, and offering support and advice at every step for both the employer and learner.

NAS has a dedicated team of employer services managers who will take employers through the whole process to recruit an apprentice, working closely with them to meet their business’s training needs and identifying which type of apprenticeship frameworks are suitable.

The NAS is now in partnership with the EDP, the Norwich Evening News, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, Shaping Norfolk’s Future, Federation of Small Business, Institute of Directors, Norfolk County Council, Connexions and the provider network for the The Challenge Norfolk 100 in 100 campaign.

n A free launch event will be taking place on Thursday, February 10, at City College Norwich, St Andrews House, Norwich. To book your place contact Vicki Reid on Vicki.reid@apprenticeships.gov.uk or by calling 01473 883027.

n For further information on Apprenticeships and how they can benefit your business visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk or call 08000 150 600.


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