Record number of apprenticeships in the Cotswolds
A RECORD number of people in the Cotswolds started apprenticeships last year and the numbers are set to soar again.
New statistics have shown that 570 people started an apprenticeship in the Cotswolds in the last academic year – a 63 per cent increase on the previous year.
Early data has also revealed that between last August and October alone, 230 people started apprenticeships in the district.
In Wiltshire, the council is already ahead of its target to deliver 1,000 apprenticeships by July 2013, with 773 people taking on new apprentice posts at county businesses since the campaign started in July 2012.
And the rising trend for following work-based pathways to professional careers is reflected across the country, with more than 500,000 people starting apprenticeships in 2011/2012.
Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown welcomed the statistics.
"These record levels of apprenticeships are fantastic news for our country, for the Cotswolds, and most of all for the people whose lives are being transformed by the opportunities they offer," he said.
Local security company, Cirencester Intruder Alarms, employs six engineer apprentices and has recently taken on two more.
Last year four of their young workers received awards at the Engineers of Tomorrow Skills Challenge - a national competition for apprentices.
They included Luke Preston, 20, who said: "When I was at school I never liked sitting in a classroom, so it made sense to find an apprenticeship, so I could learn on the job."
CIA office manager Jo Harrison said the company had benefited from apprentices and now planned to take on at least two each year.
"Because our industry is quite specialised it means we get the right people from the start, train them in our way of doing things and the make sure they get the right qualifications for the future," she explained.
• National Apprenticeship Week takes place between March 11 and 15. To find out about local apprenticeship opportunities, visit apprenticeships.org.uk