ONE Haverhill has more than tripled the number of apprenticeship places available in companies in and around Haverhill in just four months.
In March, the partnership announced that its Youth Skills manager Karen Chapple had worked with local companies to set up 15 new apprentices in the town as part of its Keep Local Young Talent in Haverhill campaign.
Now, in just four months since that announcement it has created 36 more, a total this year of 51.
Sarah Howard, chair of ONE Haverhill Board and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce representative, said: “We are just thrilled with the progress that Karen has made. This is exactly why ONE Haverhill was set up, as a partnership to bring organisations together to take practical real action in our town to help future generations.
“The figures do not include other apprenticeships that some of the companies that took on an apprentice earlier this year have now gone on to create on their own thanks to the support and advice of our Youth Skills manager.
“We must also praise our fantastic local businesses in the town who have recognised the value of taking on local talent in Haverhill to help their companies grow. “
Karen Chapple said: “I have been so encouraged and really inspired by the companies in Haverhill that I have visited.
“They see taking on a local apprentice as a great benefit and asset to their business.
“I live here in Haverhill and I get stopped by youngsters in the town who need help or who want advice and I find it so rewarding. “
An apprenticeship is a real job with training - you earn while you learn.
Emma Conroy, 18, from Cangle Junction, was offered an apprenticeship as a centre assistant at Haverhill Arts Centre .
She said: “I had moved back to Haverhill and was living in a supported housing scheme when I met Karen. I didn’t have any qualifications and had to support myself.
“With Karen’s encouragement I signed up to do the Prince’s Trust TEAM programme which develops work skills and I had two weeks work experience at the Arts Centre.
“They were looking for an apprentice and I’m now studying for a hospitality qualification with West Suffolk College while earning.
“It has given me so much confidence and has completely changed my life. It has given me a reason to get up in the morning.”
Stephen Bunting, technical director at Fiscale, said the support Fiscale has received has been invaluable. He said: “The support we have received from Karen has been invaluable in helping us to understand the apprenticeship system, establish contacts with West Suffolk College and find a suitable local apprentice.”
And Elaine Carr at Flip Flop Marketing said she had received the perfect match for an apprenticeship.
“I couldn’t believe how simple the process was and was absolutely thrilled when Karen found a student from Castle Manor Academy who was perfect for my very varied job role,” she said.
“ If this is something you have been thinking about for some I suggest you get in touch with Karen, she has a real knack for match making.”
West SuffolK MP Matthew Hancock, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Energy, welcomed the announcement.
He said: “ONE Haverhill has done a brilliant job in facilitating opportunities for local companies to help local people in the town.”
The Youth Skills Manager post is funded by Jobcentre Plus and the post is managed by Haverhill Town Council.
If you are an employer or a young person contact Youth Skills manager Karen Chapple for an informal chat on 07877 142000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.