COLUMN: John Millichap – Apprentices are key to our success

I WRITE this as the sun finally makes an appearance through the grey clouds that engulfed April and May…safe in the knowledge that is was probably short-lived and by the time you read this the rain is more than likely beating against your windows.

But if nothing else the brief sunburst provides proof that summer is on the way and we can confine the cardigans to the wardrobe, break out the factor 50 and complain about how hot we all are!

And even if the sun doesn’t make an appearance again, this summer will herald a series of once in a generation events that promises to bring global attention to the UK.

The London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will bring hundreds of thousands to the UK and along with England and Ireland’s participation in the European Championships this summer is shaping up as one to remember.

It will truly be a great British summertime and one that even the weather couldn’t derail.

It will also be the summer of the Great British Apprenticeship – an NECC drive to ensure businesses get the support and guidance required to recruit the perfect apprentice.

There are thousands of job-ready young people and a host of financial incentives for firms signing up apprentices. Our job is to make the process as pleasurable as possible and ensure the right person finds the ideal business.

The Government’s continued push on the importance of apprenticeships, coupled with the introduction of university fees, has seen resurgence in the numbers of apprenticeships in the North East.

Regional apprenticeship successes (people completing the training) are above the national average, up from 11,820 in 2009/10 to 13,260 for 2010/11. An 11% increase regionally and 5% nationally. NECC has increased its apprenticeship recruitment by 20% in the past year, achieving a success rate of 90% compared to the national average of 76%.

So whether we find ourselves raising a glass to her Majesty, celebrating gold or an early exit, let’s toast thousands going through the Great British Apprenticeships. For information, call NECC on training

:: John Millichap is head of skills development at the North East Chamber of Commerce

Paul Champion

Mobile: 07540 704920

Skype: paulchampion31
Twitter: @blogapprentice


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