YORK Apprenticeship Challenge has almost doubled its target of creating 100 new apprenticeship placements in 100 days.

The campaign, which was launched in June by The Press, alongside City of York Council, the National Apprenticeship Service and other key partners, came to a close last week with a total count of 199 apprenticeships.

Julie Gunnell, cabinet member for corporate services at City of York Council, said it was an “absolutely fantastic” achievement.

But she said work on apprentices would not stop here.

“I’m thrilled that the campaign has been a huge success and that the partners have supported young people in York.

“And I want it to continue. It’s not a one-off, we will continue and build on it,” she said.

Anthony Knowles, head of employer accounts at the National Apprenticeship Service, called the campaign a “phenomenal success”.

He said: “When the challenge, in partnership with many of York’s training providers and The Press, was launched back in June our aim was to create a campaign that would make a positive difference and offer real benefits to the city’s employers, young people and the local economy. We have been genuinely overwhelmed by the positive response from employers.

“By working in collaboration we have achieved something very special, which we can all be proud of. I would like to sincerely thank every business and organisation that has pledged apprenticeship opportunities.

“The campaign’s tremendous success will have a positive impact on all of the apprentices and employers involved, bringing lasting social and economic benefits to the region.”

Steve Hughes, managing editor of The Press, said: “We were delighted to take part in a campaign which is so important to the economy of the city.

“Apprenticeships are an excellent choice for many young people as they give them the skills and training that employers are crying out for. To create 199 apprenticeships in 100 days is a fantastic achievement and shows that York is serious about its commitment to business and growth.”

Even though the challenge has ended, young people seeking an apprenticeship, and employers of all sizes and from all sectors interested in the benefits that taking on apprentices can bring, can visit apprenticeships.org.uk or phone 08000 150 600.

Forward looking firms...

The apprentices pledges achieved during the campaign include a mixture of intermediate and advanced apprenticeships, created as new vacancies, as well as training opportunities for existing employees in jobs without training.

Employers have ranged in size from two employees to more than 1,000, and have been from a variety of sectors, including catering and hospitality, business administration, IT, accountancy, science technicians, childcare, customer service, warehousing and storage, retail, joinery, oral health, team leading, communications, engineering and hairdressing.

The 80 employers include City of York Council; FERA; MyScience.co; Harrowells Solicitors; Hunters Estate Agents; David Wilson Homes; Harkers; York Marriott Hotel; the Old White Swan; Park Inn; Toby Carvery; Exhibition Hotel; Monk Bar Hotel; Cross Keys, Goodramgate; York Medical Group; Joseph Rowntree Foundation; Nipson UK; Costcutter Supermarket Group; Talysis; HPH Chartered Accountants; Eurosafe UK; Vom Fass and CPP.

Minister’s congratulations on campaign success

The success of the campaign has also been recognised by John Hayes, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning.

Mr Hayes said: “I congratulate The Press, City of York Council, York Training Centre, York College, YH Training, JHP Training, Star Training, Babcock Training, Construction Skills, Askham Bryan College, Real Time Training Group and the National Apprenticeship Service for working together to create 199 apprenticeships in York over the last 100 days.”

“This is a remarkable achievement that will help change the way this country values vocational skills.”

“Having long championed apprenticeships in Parliament, I want to pay tribute to the businesses and organisations that have helped restore them to their rightful place in our national life – a respected, well-funded and indispensable route for people from all backgrounds to achieve their ambitions.”