A £1.5m investment has been made in Suffolk to establish a local Apprenticeship Service and deliver a series of targeted efforts to promoting the importance of apprenticeships and driving greater take up by businesses and young people.
Suffolk County Council is set to invest in three programmes of activity to unlock apprenticeship growth, these are:
1; Making apprenticeships more accessible to employers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises
2; Raising the profile of apprenticeships in schools and supporting young people to participate
3; Community based marketing and communications: raising awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships, demonstrating the importance of apprenticeships to the local economy, employers and young people.
Businesses, training providers, communities and young people across Suffolk will benefit from these programmes. The activity will also support delivery of the Suffolk Growth Strategy, Raising the Bar and the Greater Ipswich City Deal. It will also contribute towards Suffolk County Council’s responsibilities in relation to Raising the Participation Age.
Through these programmes young people will be offered free impartial support to identify suitable apprenticeship opportunities and apply for vacancies.
This activity will be delivered through the relationships with schools and the many services and resources that the council makes available to young people.
A network of volunteer Apprenticeship Ambassadors has been established; made up of current or former apprentices who are there to help inspire other young people and highlight the programme as an excellent and rewarding career path.
Through the Local Apprenticeship Service, Suffolk County Council will proactively market and ‘sell’ apprenticeships to small and medium sized employers and work with them to identify opportunities and provide support on all aspects of the apprenticeship process.
Councillor Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said:
“Apprenticeships are a powerful, but under developed tool to address skill challenges in the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.
“They allow learners to acquire complex skills in an area of work that they have interest in, and it’s vital that the young person’s talent is matched to the right employer and line of work.
“We recognise the role apprenticeships can play in supporting economic growth and Suffolk has ambitious targets around increasing apprenticeship opportunity, to do this it’s important that we work with employers by dispelling myths of complicated procedures in order to employ an apprentice.
“This allocated funding will be used to better inform businesses and young people of the benefits of apprenticeships and the support that can be accessed for this most important work based training.”