Richard Willis's Blog

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Apprentices More Than Double in Reading Under Conservative Leadership

The positive economic legacy of the previous Conservative-led coalition in Reading continues to pay dividends as new figures show that the percentage rise in the number of 16 to 18 year olds recruited in Reading over the last six months is the highest in south-east England. In the period July 2010 to January 2011 – the most up to date figures available – a total of 310 16 to 18 year olds began an apprenticeship in Reading . This is up from 155 for the same period in 2009/10 under Labour.

The impressive figures equate to a 100% rise in apprenticeships starts, almost twice as much as Brighton and Hove on 52 % who lie second in the south-east ‘league table’ of improvements.

The sharp rise in 2010/11 is an improvement on the progress made in the previous year when Reading had the 5th highest rise in the South-East and is an indicator of the sustained efforts made in Reading to drive up the number of apprenticeships on offer across the town for youngsters leaving school or college.

The number of apprenticeships recruited in Reading for all age groups – which include 16-18 year olds, 19 to 24 year olds and 25-plus – totals 686. This represents a 83% year on year increase and puts Reading second in the south east. The latest figures are a major boost for the effectiveness of partnership work between Reading Borough 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.

On February 10 this year while the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition was still in charge, Reading launched its 100 in 100 campaign, which aimed to recruit 100 apprentices within 100 days. The 100 in 100 campaign is a partnership initiative involving, the National Apprenticeship Service, Reading UK CIC, Reading Borough Council and nine Training Providers delivering apprenticeships within Reading . As of the end of May, 166 pledges had been made by employers to start apprenticeships. Of these 78 had actually started.

Reading Borough Council and its partners is encouraging local employers to take some time to research the advantages of taking on apprentices. Apprentices provide businesses with opportunities to train up and mould employees to meet their own specific needs. Employers may not know that for 16-18 year olds training is fully funded by Government and for 19-24 year olds the Government part funds all training.

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June 8, 2011 - Posted by | Local

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