Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Excellent Progress with Apprenticeships

I am very grateful to the local companies that have responded to my personal request that they consider taking on apprentices. There has been an encouraging response to my campaign to secure 100 new apprenticeships within 100 days. Seasalt, the Cornish Cyder Farm, Arcol Resistors, Trewcare and Kernow Coatings are amongst the range of companies that have all now agreed to offer apprenticeships.
These new apprenticeship starts join longstanding and award winning apprenticeship programmes such as those offered by Pendennis Shipbuilders in Falmouth. At the moment there are over seventy vacancies listed for apprenticeships with the Job Centre Plus; apprenticeships based in industries that range from care to horticulture, from retail management to motor engineering and from  bricklaying to administration. 
This growth in local apprenticeships is very good news, and due in large part to the first class efforts of the West Briton to further promote apprenticeships.
People sometimes ask me whether the apprenticeships actually lead to jobs, I am happy to confirm that they almost always do. Former apprentices that don’t stay with their parent company often move into related employment.  While I have been focussed on young people taking up an apprenticeship, they are available for people of all ages. Our local colleges offer excellent training and a wide range of qualifications as part of the apprenticeship scheme. It’s never too late to consider an apprenticeship, currently the oldest apprentice in Cornwall is 72!
In addition to supporting apprenticeships I am a keen supporter of work experience. I was delighted to get involved with a project that has just started at The Space in Penryn. Common sense has combined with terrific community spirit to enable a group of young people who have been unemployed for sometime to work under the supervision of experienced trades people and a Cornwall College instructor, to acquire building site experience.
The venue for this work experience is in Penryn’s community hall, The Space, where they are undertaking a range of improvements from interior decoration and planting flower beds, to installing a new loo and building a perimeter wall.  The materials and construction expertise has been donated by local firms including Auto Graffiti, Blue Flame, Keyline, Penryn Plastics and B&Q. Rowe’s bakery will be providing daily pasties.
For the next few weeks these young people will  acquire building skills with  their training culminating in the award of a qualification that will enable them to apply for jobs in the construction industry. Many of the building firms involved in the project have vacancies, which the newly qualified young people will be able to apply for. 
This is a terrific team effort led by Victor Tullin and Sue Bradshaw and supported by Penryn Town Council and really shows what can be achieved when all sectors of the community, private business, public services and volunteers come together to make a positive difference and help people to acquire work experience necessary to get a job. At the same time the whole community will benefit from the improvements at The Space.

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