AN apprentice challenge to create 100 vacancies in York in 100 days has almost reached the half way point as businesses in the city support the scheme.
After 37 days The York Apprenticeship Challenge has welcomed 45 pledges to created new apprenticeship vacancies for local young people.
The campaign, which started during National Apprenticeship Week and is led by City of York Council in partnership with local providers, aims to get 100 pledges for new Apprenticeship vacancies in 100 days.
Council leader Councillor James Alexander, said: "It is pleasing to see so many businesses supporting this campaign and pledging to create new apprenticeship vacancies.
"York has seen a massive growth in the number of apprenticeships in the last couple of years and there is now great support available for businesses who are looking to hire an apprentice with the council’s new brokerage service.
"It is important that young talent is kept within the city so it is particularly pleasing that young people in the city are seeing more opportunities to start their career in the city helping further the city’s rise in jobs and growth.”
The council’s free and independent apprenticeship brokerage service is available to support businesses and to help them cut through the red tape, draw up job descriptions, offer advice on the potential grants available for hiring an apprentice as well as finding the best training provider and local talent to fill the post.
The York Apprenticeship Challenge is running until June 9 and hopes to raise awareness of both the business and personal benefits of apprenticeships.
As the campaign gathers pace apprentices in York have been talking about what they have achieved through their training and work.
Kirsten Fitzpatrick, an apprentice at Sansonite at the Designer Outlet, has progressed in a career in retail through her apprenticeship training.
She said: "I started my apprenticeship in 2007 while working as a full time sales assistant at a clothing retailer as my manger thought it would be a good idea for me to complete the NVQ level 2 in retail.
"My trainer, Clair from YH Training Services, came every month. A few months into the training I noticed a difference in my performance.
"I started to enjoy what I was doing and had more confidence in myself. I also had begun to understand more of the retailer sector and what it involved.
"Once I had completed my level 2 Apprenticeship in retail, I had the confidence to start looking for a job that held more responsibility. I managed to secure a job as an assistant manager and was second in command of a small team of 7.
"I then decided to undertake more training and signed up to do level 3 Apprenticeship in retail management. I am now 24 and so happy with what the training has allowed me to achieve."
Lauren Frost, completed an apprenticeship for her role in the events department at City of York Council.
She said: "I completed my one year Business Administration Level 2 Apprenticeship in Event Management with City of York Council. Prior to starting I was fairly sceptical of Apprenticeships in general, with the view they were only for someone looking to get in to a traditional trade; plumbing, mechanics etc.
"Therefore, I was seriously considering starting my career in events through university.
"Doing an Apprenticeship was one of the best decisions I have made. I truly believe that what I have managed to accomplish, the experience I have gained and the extended range of contacts I have established would not have been possible had I of chosen the university route.
"Since graduating I have been able to use all that I’ve learnt and I’m now able to work freelance in events; from music festivals to dance events and from marathons to cultural festivals."
Bill Holliday is a plant mechanics apprentice at Chippindale Plant in York. He said: "I’d always wanted to be a plant mechanic so after finishing at York High School, I contacted Chippindale Plant Ltd, who offered me a three day trial.
"After the trial, they offered me an apprenticeship and I applied to national training organisation CITB. I have dyslexia so it was arranged for me to have extra time and a reader for the SLE Assessment, which I passed.
"I started my Apprenticeship with Chippindale Plant Ltd, at their York Depot, studying at Askham Bryan College in York.
"I love learning new skills, putting them into practice on a daily basis and really enjoy work. I have the opportunity to work in the yard and warehouse and also out on site which provides a great variety.
"I have recently completed my Level 2 Apprenticeship Framework in Plant Mechanics and I am really pleased that I can continue to work for the company."
Speaking about the benefits of an apprentice to a business, legal cashier Julie Nelson, of York solicitors Hethertons, said: "Due to having bespoke processes in place we felt it would be more beneficial to recruit someone who matched our culture and values and train to do it our way.
"We acknowledge that it’s not the easiest profession to enter due to high competition from graduates and felt the York Apprenticeship Brokerage Service from City of York Council would open the door to enthusiastic applicants who otherwise may not have seen the legal sector as a viable career option. We saw the Apprenticeship Brokerage Service as a method of offering young people a career path without the financial burden of university.
"Although it is still early days for our apprentice, it is noticeable that strides are being taken in the right direction. He is an eager learner and asks a lot of questions which has enabled him to perform a wide arrange of duties to support his fellow co-workers and has fitted in to the whole team as hoped."
Training providers involved in the 100 in 100 campaign are Askham Bryan College, Babcock Training, ETS (Electronic Technology Services), JTL Training, YH Training Services, York College, York Learning and City of York Council (York Apprenticeship Hub).
For more information or to follow the campaign visit www.apprenticeship-hubs.co.uk
Local businesses who would like to hire an apprentice can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telepphone Jo Burgess on (01904) 552200.