Reading is celebrating a huge boost to the number of young people who have been given a chance to start on the first rung of the employment ladder. The number of 16 to18-year-old apprentices who started training in Reading has more than doubled compared to the same time last year and is the biggest increase across 19 councils in the South East.
The latest figures produced by the National Apprenticeship Service show that, from July to November this year, 267 of Reading’s young people aged 16 to 18 started apprenticeships compared with 124 in the same period last year. This is an increase of 115.3 per cent. The next highest increase for a council in the South East region over the same period was 44.2 per cent.
The number of people of all ages who started apprenticeships was 501, up by 99.6 per cent (from 251) on the same four months last year. The improvement is a major boost for the effectiveness of partnership work between the Conservative / Lib Dem Coalition Council and a range of public and private sector organisations that have been working together over the past year to increase the number of apprenticeships available to Reading people.
A recent meeting organised by the Council to look at ways of further boosting the number of apprenticeships in Reading attracted 23 training providers and associated organisations. The group agreed to work together to encourage even more employers to take on and train apprentices.
A business breakfast is also being organised during National Apprenticeship week in February [Thursday, 10th February, 8.00am to10.00am at the Pentahotel in Reading] to explain to local employers how apprenticeships could benefit their business and to encourage them to take on apprentices.
A further initiative in the New Year is the 100 in 100 Apprenticeship Campaign that will be launched at the business breakfast. The Campaign will encourage the region’s businesses – both large and small – to play their part in recruiting 100 apprentices in 100 days.
Cllr Andrew Cumpsty, Leader of Reading Borough Council applauded these excellent figures, commenting: “Reading is leading the way in the number of young people being given hope and opportunity in the form of apprenticeships.”
Once again the Coalition is delivering where Labour only talked about it!