This July MP Mike Thornton launched the ‘Apprentice Boost’ challenge alongside the Government’s Ambassador of Apprenticeships, as part of the Liberal Democrat campaign to double the number of businesses in the UK that offer apprenticeships.
The challenge will encourage local businesses to sign up more apprentices to create new opportunities for young people living in and around Hampshire.
The initiative was launched by Mr Thornton at Prysmian Cables in Eastleigh, one of the largest employers in the area. The Government’s Ambassador of Apprenticeships to Business Gordon Birtwistle MP joined Mr Thornton to help launch the local apprentice challenge.
The two MPs met with local apprentices, took a tour of the site, and found out more about the opportunities and challenges Prysmian Cables and other local companies face, with a focus on apprenticeships.
The day also included a visit to Arlington Rail, and Eastleigh’s famous Railway Works, to meet with apprentices.
Over the next few months, as part of the apprentice challenge, Mr Thornton will visit local schools, colleges, training providers and businesses of all sizes, to listen to their concerns and raise awareness of the support available for local businesses who want to take on apprentices.
A number of local businesses like Prysmian Cables, who have employed apprentices in the past, as well as the apprentices themselves, will be taking part in the initiative, encouraging others to sign up.
Commenting, Mike Thornton said:
"The Liberal Democrats in Government have overseen an extraordinary 86% increase in the number of apprentices offered in England each year.
"That’s because the Liberal Democrats realise how vital apprenticeships are to our economy and building on the one million-plus private sector jobs created by business since 2010.
"Apprentices are one of the many important ways to ensure young people gain the skills and experiences necessary to succeed on the job market. Not only do they provide young people with opportunities and careers they may not otherwise have had, they are a real help to all businesses who take them on.
"In Eastleigh and Hampshire, businesses like GE Aviation and Prysmian Cables have a great track-record of delivering high quality apprenticeships. There have been just over 2300 new apprentices since 2010 in Eastleigh alone, taking the Hampshire total to an incredible 30,830 apprentices.
"The launch place for the challenge, Prysmian Cables, is a great example of this: as a company Prysmian run a range of apprenticeships, from manufacturing to marketing, and in Eastleigh they have just appointed 4 new apprentices in commercial roles."
"We can and must do more for the next generation of school leavers and young people looking for work if we are going to create a stronger economy in a fairer society.
"That is why I am organising this challenge as part of the Liberal Democrat campaign to double the number of businesses in the UK that offer apprenticeships. We have some of the most innovative and successful businesses in Hampshire, and I’m confident they will rise to the occasion and continue this fantastic upswing in apprenticeships."