From education to employment

New apprenticeship schemes announced during first Apprenticeship Week

4,000 apprenticeship places will be established by major employers it was announced yesterday, at the start of Apprenticeship Week.

Vodafone are committed to 2000 apprenticeship starts in 2008-09 and Superdrug to 1,000. Sainsburys, Barchester Healthcare and Veolia, the environmental waste management services company have also pledged to increase their apprenticeship starts in the next academic year. Meanwhile Phones4u have just set up their new programme for more than 200 by the end of this year.

Veolia and Dollond & Aitchison are among a group of employers working with Government to pilot over-training. Already running successful apprenticeship programmes, these companies are offering to train a greater number of apprentices than their own organisation needs in order to build up the skills in their local area and supply chain. This is the beginning of an ambitious new programme.

Secretary of State for Skills John Denham welcomed the companies commitment: “We must work closely with employers to make it easier for them to improve the range of high-quality apprenticeships on offer so that more young people and adults get the skills and qualifications they need.

“Im delighted that these firms have shown such a commitment to their workforce. Britain will only succeed in the global skills race if we develop the skills of our people to the fullest possible extent and apprenticeships have a key role to play. “

The announcement builds on the Apprenticeships Review, published in January and launched by the Prime Minister.

New research released today by the Learning and Skills Council shows the significant benefits apprenticeships programmes can bring to employers. 88 per cent believe apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.

Euan Sutherland, CEO of Superdrug, explained their commitment:”Superdrug is a people business and our success depends on the skills of our team members. They deserve the best training and development possible and we are committed to putting in place programmes that will enable all colleagues to have nationally recognised qualifications in key skills as well as vocational retail beauty skills. We have set up a dedicated NVQ and Apprenticeship team and are keen to further expand these programmes, giving employees the opportunity to gain additional qualifications in retail beauty skills as well as key skills.”

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