Fresh drive to boost apprenticeships in Worcestershire

Worcester News: Apprentices: new county council drive Apprentices: new county council drive

A MAJOR new drive to recruit apprentices across Worcestershire is kicking off - after a council report admitted more should be done.

Worcestershire County Council has written to every school's careers advisor and all secondary head teachers to highlight concerns too many young people do not value apprenticeships.

Each of them have been sent a set of detailed feedback, collated by Worcestershire's Youth Cabinet, revealing that many students feel advice on apprenticeships should be better.

The move, by the council's Conservative leadership, was decided upon after an in-house committee did its own investigation into apprenticeships in the county.

As your Worcester News revealed in March, the council's economy, environment and communities scrutiny panel produced a hard-hitting dossier spelling out a raft of things the cabinet could do to help.

The response, from deputy leader Councillor Simon Geraghty, has now been published, revealing:

- A major marketing campaign will be launched later this year to promote the fantastic careers available to would-be apprentices

- In November, a 'Worcestershire Apprenticeship Celebration Event' will be staged at a currently undecided location to salute employers who are already heavily involved in taking on young people

- Every single county secondary school has been sent a report by the youth cabinet called 'Skills for Life: Getting Ready for Work' which spells out what young people want to get from careers advisors on apprenticeships

- A series of conferences are in the early preparation stages aimed to strengthen links between the private sector and schools Councillor Geraghty, who is also cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, has agreed with all the concerns flagged up in the original in-house review.

In his response, he said apprentices are vital to "meet the needs of the economy" as not everyone will see university as their ideal route.

He also said guidance from schools needs to be far broader.

The council has an ongoing project called Connecting Schools which aims to link them more closely with business.

"Information, advice and guidance includes not only advice on the appropriate routes but how to write successful applications and interview skills," said Cllr Geraghty.

"The (Connecting Schools) programme is also working to build ongoing relationships between the schools and businesses to support awareness of work opportunities, offer mock interviews, work experience and company visits."

In 2011 there were 2,000 apprenticeships in Worcestershire but that figure has continued to rise and is on track to surge past 7,000 this year.

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