Apprentice boost brings job cheer

THE number of apprenticeships available in South Lakeland has more than doubled in the last three years.

New figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that by April, the end of this financial year, 760 apprenticeships were available.

However in 2009/2010 that figure stood at just 370.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron, who has been heavily involved in increasing the number of opportunites for young people, welcomed the news.

“Degrees are great, but they are not the only way to get on in life,” he said.

“Learning skills and developing experience in whatever way is good for you is far more important.

“I want to thank local businesses who have taken on an apprentice.

“It really makes a massive difference.

“More young people across the South Lakes than ever before now have the opportunity to benefit from a variety of apprenticeships.

“I want us to build on this success and do even more to help our local young people.”

The figures show that 300 of those apprenticeships were given to people over the age of 25, 280 of the placements were given to people between 19-24, and a further 180 to people under 19.

In September it was agreed by the county council’s South Lakeland Local Committee to extend a successful scheme which helps young people take their first step on to the career ladder.

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Grants worth up to £2,500 are being provided to help small and medium-sized local businesses recruit young apprentices aged 16 to 19.

Ian Stewart, cabinet member responsible for organisational change at the county council, added that by November 2013 there had been a reduction from 210 to 135 in the number of young people in South Lakeland claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).

He said: “We will continue to work to give the opportunities of employment, education and training to all young people in South Lakeland.”

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