THEY’RE hired! Action to tackle the scourge of youth unemployment in South Tyneside will be intensified during National Apprenticeship Week, being launched today.
And the week has got off to a flying start in the borough, thanks to the creation of numerous new placements.
South Tyneside Council is now well on its way to reaching a target it set last year of creating 200 new apprenticeships in the borough by March 2014, with 105 young people having already been taken on.
Today’s launch could not be more timely, with youth unemployment in our borough among the highest in the UK.
There are 2,145 borough young people claiming benefit in South Tyneside, and the number of people aged 18 to 24 out of work for up to six weeks stands at 1,265.
It was against that backdrop that the council launched its apprenticeship scheme last summer.
Under the authority’s youth employment scheme, electrical and engineering companies receive up to £4,000 each to take on those aged 18 to 24 who have been out of work for three months or more.
Since its launch, businesses in South Tyneside ranging from small, family-run companies to large-scale organisations with hundreds of employees, have benefited from taking on apprentices. And the hope is that their positive experience will encourage more firms to follow in their footsteps.
South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm was today at an event to launch National Apprenticeship Week at One Trinity Green in Eldon Street, South Shields.
He was due to meet the borough’s latest apprentices as well as hearing from Carrie Gofton, an apprentice whose life has been turned around since starting work at Bede’s World in Jarrow.
Coun Malcolm said: “Apprentices can make a real difference to businesses, as well as creating vital opportunities for our young people.
“That is why the council is helping companies to create 200 new apprenticeships over the coming year.
“We are also working with South Tyneside College to support a pre-apprenticeship academy to help young unemployed residents get started on the road to employment.
“We hope that with the focus on apprenticeships this week, many more businesses, large and small, will get on board.”
Businesses interested in taking on an apprentice can contact Sarah James in the council’s economic growth team by calling 424 7396 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone interested in becoming an apprentice can e-mail email@example.com
* In tomorrow’s Gazette we meet South Tyneside’s two newest apprentices.