Apprentice scheme smashes its target

Steve Gange, Marie Rimmer and Marie Brown
Steve Gange, Marie Rimmer and Marie Brown
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A BOROUGH-wide scheme aimed at creating 100 apprenticeships in as many days has smashed its ambitious target.

St Helens Chamber joined forces with St Helens Council in April in a bid to generate 100 apprenticeships in 100 days.

But they managed to beat that target, creating 107 opportunities for unemployed local youngsters in the last 14 weeks.

Steve Gange, chairman of St Helens Chamber, said: “Over the last 100 days the Chamber has been working closely with local businesses to support them in recognising the benefits that recruiting apprentices can bring to their workforce.

“Businesses have identified any vacancies they have in their business that could be filled by an apprentice and the Chamber has then helped them to recruit to fill the position. By the end of the 100 day campaign we have identified a total of 107 vacancies that we are now working hard to fill.”

Brown’s Short Break Respite Services in Blackbrook is just one of the businesses who pledged their commitment to filling vacancies with local apprentices.

Brown’s provides valuable respite services to those caring for adults with disabilities, learning difficulties or mental illness.

Managing director Marie Brown said: “Our business is currently expanding and we are hoping to move into our own dedicated premises in the autumn so we knew we would need to recruit over the summer. We already employ a number of young people so we were more than happy to fill the vacancies with more young people. We find that employing people who are just starting out in their working life can have a great benefit to our business, as it allows us to instill our company values in them from day one.

“We also find them to be very enthusiastic and adaptable. They are a great help in delivering sessions in subjects like ICT and art and crafts – things which just seem to come more naturally to the younger generation.”

Jayne Greenwood, 21, of Newton-le-Willows, was one of the first apprentices to secure work thanks to the campaign and now now works for Brown’s Respite as an apprentice care worker.

Marie Brown this week conducted interviews for a second care worker position and also hopes to recruit a business administration apprentice.

Council leader Marie Rimmer said: “The council is very proud to have been able to support this extremely worthwhile campaign, which is giving so many of our young people a fantastic start to their working lives.

“On behalf of the council, I would also like to thank all the businesses who have recognised what a valuable contribution young people can bring to their business and have offered them employment in what is a very difficult economic time.”