County Councillors have approved a report that proposes how best to promote and grow apprenticeships across Gloucestershire.
At a full council meeting council members unanimously agreed recommendations put forward by the ‘Apprenticeship task group'. The proposals include doing more to put apprenticeships at the forefront of people’s minds earlier in a young persons’ school career.
To help inform the report, the task group ran a number of focus groups with employers, schools, training providers and young people to discover the challenges facing apprenticeships. Employers across Gloucestershire were also surveyed about their experiences.
The group discovered three key issues facing apprenticeships in the county; the perception of apprenticeships among some teachers, schools, young people and parents does not match reality, young people need high quality career advice and support to develop the skills they need to start their careers in the workplace and employers need to be better informed, supported and encouraged to take on apprentices. The task group then looked into ways to tackle these issues.
The apprenticeship task group was set up following a motion to council in June 2014 led by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton & Northleach) who has also chaired the cross-party initiative.
He said: “When I proposed last year that we set up a task force to boost the number of apprenticeships locally I didn't realise just how much we could achieve in a short time. Working cross-party we have seen that there's a lot of work to be done to get the message out loud and clear that apprenticeships are a brilliant way to enter the world of work.
“Now, we have come up with a set of recommendations which will give employers, schools and young people much more information about how to become an apprentice. Many employers have issues in finding the right people for roles and so getting people equipped with the right skills through apprenticeships is one way to help address this."
Using their knowledge of apprenticeships in the county the group has also been able to provide valuable advice to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) on its commissioning of an apprenticeship hub.
Since 2010, 15560 apprenticeships have been created in the county.