Former Wales rugby star leads apprenticeship campaign
FORMER Welsh rugby international Jonathan Davies has been appointed by work-based learning provider ACT Training to encourage businesses to recruit and train youngsters.
Following the successful Apprenticeship Week in Wales, Cardiff-based ACT Training has announced that the rugby television pundit and former apprentice decorator is to lead a new year-long drive to get more employers to recruit apprentices.
Working as its “apprenticeship ambassador”, Mr Davies will meet employers across the country and highlight the benefits of apprenticeships, for the firms themselves and for the Welsh economy.
Working with the Welsh Government, ACT is hoping that its 2012 Year of the Welsh Apprentice campaign will encourage more employers to take advantage of the funding support from the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund available to train apprentices.
UK research shows that 77% of employers who had trained apprentices believed it made their firms more competitive, and 76% said it led to higher overall productivity.
Furthermore, 88% of employers said apprenticeships resulted in better motivation among their workforces, while 57% reported that a high proportion of apprentices moved on into management positions in their businesses.
Mr Davies said: “It is great to be appointed to a role which will hopefully help boost youth employment in Wales and contribute to changing attitudes among employers who have never recruited apprentices.
“Before I played professional rugby, I worked as an apprentice in painting and decorating. Gaining on-the-job experience and having real responsibility from a young age provided me with confidence and instilled a work ethic that I have maintained throughout my adult life.
“There are many young people out there who have the potential to be trained and become part of the skilled workforce. Without the opportunities from employers, we are at risk of losing a young generation to a life of unskilled labour and benefits.
“Employers have a lot to gain by hiring an apprentice and giving them the skills their businesses need to succeed in the future. Injecting fresh talent is an investment and not a financial sacrifice.”
Andrew Cooksley, managing director at ACT Training, said: “It’s great to have Jonathan on board to help spread the important message that apprenticeships play a vital role in the economic development of Wales. I would urge employers to find out how they can get involved in recruiting apprentices as a way to boost their business productivity.”
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