THE YORK Apprenticeship Challenge launched today by The Press is urging employers to take on apprentices to improve the local economy.

The York Apprenticeship Challenge to find 100 new apprenticeship opportunities in 100 days has been initiated by City of York Council, the National Apprenticeship Service and other key partners.

Apprenticeships offer employers motivated, skilled staff and increased productivity, while providing a training route, combining work-based learning with theory and a recognised qualification.

According to National Apprenticeship Service research, every £1 of public money spent on apprenticeships generates up to £40 for the economy and, on average, people who complete an Advanced Level Apprenticeship earn over £100,000 more during their working life than someone without this level of qualification.

City of York Council is taking the lead by offering 30 new places for intermediate level apprentices to be in place before Christmas.

Council leader Coun James Alexander, said: “I would encourage as many businesses as possible throughout the city to get involved in the York Apprenticeship Challenge, and find out more about the potential benefits of taking on an apprentice.

“This represents an investment not only in young people but in the economic wellbeing of York.”

The challenge has received support from Skills Minister John Hayes, who said the Government has funding in place to support more than 360,000 apprenticeships this year.

He said: “This is good news for employers as well as local youngsters.

“Better trained staff give firms of all kinds the skills they need to innovate and grow.”

Nick Wilson, regional director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said as young people are finishing their exams and thinking about their options, it was a good time for employers to review their recruitment needs and consider introducing or expanding an apprenticeship programme.

He said: “Apprentices really can make a difference to an organisation from day one.

“More and more businesses and organisations are realising that apprenticeships are key to a highly skilled and focused workforce, but we still need more which is why we are supporting the York Apprenticeship Challenge.

“Apprenticeships benefit the employer but can also make a difference to the future workforce of York, and we urge more employers to recruit apprentices to bridge skills gaps and to give people a good foundation for a successful career.”

Visit or phone 08000 150 600 to be part of the challenge.

York Press: The Press - Comment

We all win from this challenge

TODAY, we launch a new challenge that could transform the lives of local young people. We are asking the region’s businesses to commit to taking on 100 apprentices in the next 100 days.

It is a simple enough idea, bringing together the local businesses – large and small – who need enthusiastic staff with the young people desperate to make a start in life.

We know that, thanks to the recession, there are hundreds of young people out there looking for that first chance, especially now, with the cost of a university degree about to soar.

We believe an apprenticeship could make all the difference to their lives – just as it did for Lauren, featured in a supplement in The Press today, who is well on the way to becoming a qualified assessor after doing a two-year business and administration apprenticeship at City of York Council.

It isn’t only young people who will benefit, however. Local firms will gain from the vitality, drive and willingness to learn that these young people bring. And according to National Apprenticeship Service research, every £1 of public money spent on an apprenticeship generates up to £40 for the economy.

Everybody will be a winner, in other words.

City of York Council has got the ball rolling by offering 30 new apprenticeships which will be filled by Christmas. That’s a great start. Now we’re appealing to local businesses to do their part, too.

Our supplement today tells businesses and young people alike all they will need to know. So let’s meet that apprenticeship challenge and put this city back on the road to recovery.

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