With thanks to the T&A
THE Bradford district has hit a Government target for getting young people into apprenticeships.
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills gave the district a goal of getting at least 537 people into the earn-and-learn route into work, in exchange for funding of nearly £1m to make it happen.
Now Bradford College, Bradford Council and other organisations have hit the target, with young people taking up apprenticeships in retail, catering, business, IT and construction, among other fields.
Council bosses said Bradford’s Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA), which was set up in May 2013, had played a major part in this success.
The ATA is run jointly by the council and Bradford College and acts as a recruitment agency.
It particularly targets small businesses who have not previously taken on an apprentice, helping them to grow their workforces while also cutting youth unemployment.
The ATA works alongside Bradford’s Apprenticeship Hub, which aims to raise the profile of apprenticeships and increase their take-up.
It acts as a single point of contact, giving advice to businesses, schools, young people and parents.
More than 20 apprentices aged 16 to 24 have also taken on an ambassador role, talking to other young people at schools and events about what an apprenticeship involves.
One of the apprenticeship ambassadors, 20-year-old Bethany Townsend, of Clayton, has now finished her apprenticeship and works for Bradford Council’s finance department.
She said: “Being an apprenticeship ambassador is a fantastic experience. I got so much from my apprenticeship and I wanted to share that with other students who are looking at taking up an apprenticeship.
“I gained confidence as well as new skills; and as an apprentice, you get paid.”
The funding allocated to Bradford for the ATA and Apprenticeship Hub was £958,128.
This Government cash was part of a wider grant of £4.6 million given to the Leeds City Region under a scheme called the Cities Deal Skills Ask.
So far, the programme has seen 2,300 people start apprenticeships across the city region.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, who chairs the Apprenticeship Training Agency board and is responsible for education and skills at Bradford Council, said: “It’s fantastic news that we’ve passed this milestone and created so many apprenticeship starts for business and young people. I want to thank all the partners and our apprenticeship ambassadors who have made this happen.
“Apprenticeships can offer so much to businesses and the young people they take on, many of whom stay with the same employer and prosper.
“They have an important role to play in the district’s economic development and with our plans to Get Bradford Working.”