Shropshire companies struggle to find apprentices

Businesses across Shropshire are struggling to fill places for apprenticeships despite unemployment being at its highest level for 16 years, it has been claimed.

Hotels and tyre companies are among those failing to attract candidates – with many giving up before they finish learning their trade. And Shifnal florist Jan Park said just three people applied to work for her.

The news comes despite the Government’s new £1 billion Youth Contract to combat rising unemployment by creating more chance for young people to find work.

Mrs Park, who runs Blue Florist, said she advertised her apprenticeship four weeks ago. She said: “This is a brilliant opportunity. It would be particularly good for someone who is not academic and doesn’t want to do A-levels.

“I’ve tried to start an apprenticeship before but with little uptake. I’ve taken on a few young people but they’ve often given up.”

Shrewsbury-based Mobi-Tyre has also had difficulties in finding an applicant for its trainee IT assistant apprenticeship, which has been open for 18 months.

Operations manager Ba- rry Alexander said: “Responses to our apprenticeship have been quite poor.”

The Park House Hotel in Shifnal started an apprenticeship this year but general manager Richard Jones, said it had struggled to find passionate staff.

James Percy, 22, of Shifnal, began an apprenticeship with Telford employer Capgemini last year.

He said: “After being in retail for a few years I realised I could only go so far. Through my apprenticeship I have the opportunity to gain accredited qualifications. This gives me the chance to expand and dev- elop skills. I will continue to recommend this path.”

Shropshire councillor Steve Davenport, chairman of its enterprise and growth scrutiny committee, said it was ‘doing its utmost’ to ensure the right students are put into the right schemes’.

Paul ChampionStrategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

Sent from my iPad

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