Worcestershire are once again celebrating the success of apprentices across the county and businesses that are involved in offering apprenticeships during National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) which takes from 6 to 12 February.
Apprenticeships are seen as an essential routeway into employment for young people, those returning to work or seeking a change in career, in addition to being a great way to upskill existing employees.
Last year nearly 4000 apprenticeships were started in Worcestershire, and of those over 2000 were people aged under 24 years old. The county regularly sees around 5% of all school leavers start an apprenticeship making them a key education and employment pathway in the county. Apprenticeships provide a vital opportunity for all county employees to upskill, regardless of age, as a key strategy for business workforce planning. Many Worcestershire businesses are seeing apprenticeships as a vital tool to plan how they will fill roles in the future by introducing and growing talent within their organisations.
Worcestershire County Council as an employer, currently offer apprenticeships at intermediary, advanced and higher levels in areas such as Customer Service, Business Administration, HR Delivery, Finance and Accounting, Social Care, Civil Engineering, Information Technology, and Digital Development with many more in areas in development.
Councillor Marc Bayliss, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy Infrastructure and Skills said they were proud to support apprenticeships: “Worcestershire County Council’s Apprenticeship provision is a key part of how we plan for the future. This year, across our council services, we are proud to say that there are 268 colleagues currently participating in an apprenticeship with us, a 26% increase on last year. It sees also an increasing number of new apprentices joining the council, who we hope will stay with us upon completion or take their new skills out into the marketplace and find employment here within the county.
“In addition many current staff also are engaged in apprenticeships, with a view to helping increase their knowledge to help improve effectiveness. One of the most notable more recent trends is the growth of ICT apprenticeships across the county, which have grown in some parts of Worcestershire by over 200%. This is an exciting investment in the counties future, paving the way for Worcestershire to be a digital skills leader.
“During National Apprenticeship Week we look forward to sharing some of the stories of people who are currently carrying out apprenticeships, so keep an eye on our social media channels and our website!”
This year NAW will see the County Council once again involved in celebrating the successes of its apprentices and also supporting the work of its partners, including Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP), Careers Worcestershire and Worcestershire Apprenticeships. NAW will also see some exciting new initiatives being prepared for launch, including a new incentive scheme for apprentices in the county, the announcement of this year’s Worcestershire Apprenticeships Awards, and also a special event at the Careers Worcester Youth Hub in Worcester’s The Hive on 7 February (10am to 2pm).
The event is aimed at giving residents all the details they need for apprenticeship opportunities.
Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Apprenticeships offer a great pathway to develop your career at whatever age and it is vital that we get more people and employers embracing the option. This event at The Hive working with Worcestershire Apprenticeships, provides a great opportunity to speak with local training providers and some apprenticeship employers to understand what options are available in Worcestershire. I’d encourage anyone interested or curious about apprenticeships to come along, speak with the experts and understand the value of apprenticeships.”
Anyone wanting information on becoming an apprentice or to view current apprenticeship vacancies, or any Worcestershire business interested in becoming an apprenticeship partner, they can visit the dedicated Worcestershire Apprenticeships website created by the County Council and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.