MP praises councils’ apprenticeship drive

A government minister has praised a local council for its apprentice recuitment policy.

Newmarket and Mildenhall MP Matthew Hancock, minister for skills and enterprise, was commenting on the news that Forest Heath District Council, operating with its neighbour St Edmundsbury Borough Council under the banner of West Suffolk was about to take on ten new apprentices.

“It’s great news that both councils are making apprenticeships a key part of their growth strategy,” said Mr Hancock.

“I am pleased that the local authorities in West Suffolk are leading the way by encouraging a range of opportunities for apprenticeships. Most departments within both councils now have an apprentice working for them. We want it to be the new norm for young people to choose to either go to university or begin an apprenticeship.

“Apprenticeships increase business productivity and increase skills levels, so with a talent pool of over a million potential employees, it is the ideal time for companies and councils to take advantage of the opportunities for business growth provided by employing apprentices.

“The two authorities already have 10 apprentices at various stages of their studies, while 18 of their current staff started their careers through apprenticeships with West Suffolk. Two years ago West Suffolk won a regional award for its joint apprenticeship scheme.

“Apprenticeships are about putting young people into work to develop key skills – their value to any organisation or business cannot be underestimated. It just makes good business sense,” said chief executive Ian Gallin.