A Wiltshire Council-led campaign to boost the number of apprenticeships in the county with a particular focus on helping them achieve higher level skills, is on target and progressing well. The Wiltshire Apprenticeship Campaign seeks to grow the numbers of apprenticeships available in the county, urging more businesses to sign up and with a particular focus on encouraging learners to develop through the apprenticeships programme, up to higher and degree apprenticeships. Last year there were almost 5,400 apprenticeships in Wiltshire and this year the target is 5,600 to help meet the Government’s aim to create three million starts nationally by July 2020. Working alongside partners, the campaign is encouraging more people to benefit from the skills of being an apprentice and advising employers of the valuable contribution an apprentice can bring to the workplace.
So far this year the figures are looking encouraging, especially for young people aged 16 to 18 with 700 in this age group taking up apprenticeships from August to December 2015 – a 39 percent increase on the same period in 2014.
As part of the campaign, council officers have been visiting business leaders to offer advice on how they can get their company involved with an apprenticeship programme.
To highlight the value of apprenticeships, a number of events are also planned in Wiltshire for National Apprenticeship Week (14 – 18 March).
These included a “Dragon’s Den style apprenticeship business challenge, traineeship workshop for providers and a new category in the Enterprising Wiltshire Awards on 18 March for Apprentice Employer of the Year.
Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, Wiltshire Council cabinet member with responsibility for economic development and skills, said: “Being an apprentice can provide a wide range of learning opportunities and they can bring real value to an organisation. Along with our partners we are encouraging employers to consider taking on an apprentice and for our apprentices to look further down the line at the opportunity to advance their skills even more with higher level qualifications.” Wiltshire Council works in partnership with apprenticeship providers across the county, the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Training Provider Network, the National Apprenticeship Service, and a number of employer apprenticeship ambassadors. This year’s campaign will culminate with a graduation ceremony for the county’s higher and advanced apprentices at Salisbury Cathedral on 6 October 2016. For further information on local activities during National Apprenticeship Week go to www.tiny.cc/NAW16