Apprenticeship boost

Daniel Henderson and Matthew Huteson pictured with West Lindsey Council chairman Jessie Milne
Daniel Henderson and Matthew Huteson pictured with West Lindsey Council chairman Jessie Milne

Apprenticeships work for you – that’s the message West Lindsey District Council is giving both businesses and young people today as it launches an exciting campaign to increase job opportunities in the district.

The ‘Apprenticeships Work 4 You’ campaign is encouraging more employers to take on one apprentice – or more – in a bid to help their businesses grow while tackling youth unemployment in West Lindsey.

Working in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service, the council will be offering support to businesses considering taking on an apprentice.

The authority is looking to create at least 50 new apprenticeships in the district and said the scheme will encourage businesses to thrive while giving young people the chance to gain valuable practical experience.

Council leader Coun Burt Keimach said: “We realise it’s tough for local businesses at the moment and we are committed to supporting them.”

“We believe apprenticeships are a realistic and cost-effective way to sustain and grow business, while also offering experience and qualifications that could kickstart a young person’s career. Apprenticeships really do work for everyone.”

He added: “At the council we’ve always had positive experiences with apprentices and we’ve currently got three young apprentices working with us.”

“However, we’re conscious most of our employers run very small businesses and might be put off by misplaced fears or concerns about taking on an apprentice.”

“There is lots of support for small businesses out there, and during our campaign we’ll be highlighting how simple it is, how many benefits there are, and the local employers who have had a really positive experience with apprenticeships.”

“I urge all businesses to seriously consider taking up the ‘50’ challenge to help ensure a prosperous future for themselves, our youngsters and our district.”

Matthew Huteson, 21, of Gainsborough, is one of the apprentices currently working at the council, and said he has struggled to find a full-time job since finishing his A-Levels at college.

“It was very hard to find a job that would take someone on without work experience,” he said. “This apprenticeship has been brilliant.

“It’s definitely improved me as a person – before I was shy and quiet but in a job like this I’ve come out of myself.

“It’s improved my self-confidence, given me new skills and enabled me to meet new people.”

Michael Nicol, head of employer accounts at the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “We are delighted to support this initiative by West Lindsey Council.

“Apprenticeships can have a very positive impact on businesses and the community.”

“I hope that this campaign encourages small businesses especially to take advantage of the support available to them to take on an apprentice – particularly the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers.

“I also hope that as many young people as possible get the opportunity to gain real, relevant qualifications and valuable on the job experience as they embark on their chosen career.”

Council chairman Coun Jessie Milne added: “The council has employed apprentices for a few years now, and it’s great to know we’re providing a sought-after opportunity for local young people that will lay foundations for their future careers.

“I applaud any business that has already offered a young person a step onto the career ladder. It would be fantastic if more businesses could do the same.

“There is so much support for employers out there – from the National Apprenticeship Service, Job Centre and training providers – and with the financial support also available, I really hope more employers will at least consider taking on an apprentice.”

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The National Apprenticeship Service has a dedicated small business support team, who can be called for advice and support on 0800 0150 600.