Last week I wrote in the Herald about important developments in education, and my focus this week is on another key plank of education. One that has in the past sometimes had less attention, but not now. I’m talking of course about apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships offer the chance to ‘earn while you learn’. They are an enticing prospect for those keen to fast track their way to their chosen career or looking for a career change or to re-enter the jobs market after a period away.
Although when you hear ‘apprentice’ you may first think of someone in their late teens or early twenties, these days there are apprentices across a really wide range of ages, at different levels and in diverse sectors.
They are a particular boon for employers at a time when we know, certainly locally, that finding staff with the right skills set can be a struggle.
If you weren’t aware, we have some fantastic local apprenticeship schemes on offer in East Hants. This includes EHDC’s grant scheme whereby 50 percent of the apprentice’s wage is covered by the council for one year and a further contribution of up to £1000 is available for training plus an extra allowance to cover travel costs.
We have local apprenticeships centres and providers here in East Hants, including the Future Skills Centre in Bordon.
Going down the apprenticeships route has, I’m pleased to say, become a serious option for many more bright, motivated young people on their way to well paid jobs. Next month’s National Apprenticeship Week (from February 5th) will celebrate apprentices from up and down the country who have excelled in their chosen field. It will also highlight those employers who really understand the value of the schemes and have fully incorporated them into their businesses.
And just on that, I was delighted when I was at the recent national apprenticeships awards to see Lasham-based 2Excel receiving a highly commended award in the SME category. I was immensely proud to see a local business getting such recognition.
Apprenticeships (and indeed T Levels) recognise that the well-trodden ‘A level to university’ route is not a one size fits all. Enabling and encouraging our young people to build up their skills and begin their journey to employment in a way that maximises their potential is what’s important.
And before I sign off this week, I just wanted to highlight the date of my next public meeting – it’s on Thursday 18th January from 7pm – 8pm in the Liss/Petersfield area. To register for a free ticket, please click here.
More information about EHDC’s ‘Enterprise Apprenticeships Grant Scheme’ can also be found here.