Promoting opportunities for youngsters

Business development manager - Brian Ashton, MP Craig Whitaker and MD Jamie Ashton, at Projex Solutions' apprentice open day.

Business development manager - Brian Ashton, MP Craig Whitaker and MD Jamie Ashton, at Projex Solutions' apprentice open day.

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A Brighouse company held an open day to promote the benefits of apprenticeships.

Projex Solutions brings together skills and technology to project manage contracts in several industries.

Company managing director Jamie Ashton started as an apprentice and invited guests discussed the benefits of apprenticeships to the community and business.

The event was held at the new head office of Projex Solutions. Thornhill Beck Lane, and visitors talked to the company’s staff with first-hand experience of the benefits of apprenticeships and the apprentices themselves.

Guest speaker was Calder Valley Conservative MP Craig Whittaker who talked about the Government’s efforts to support apprenticeships which have grown from the traditional trades into many fields of employment.

He said Prime Minister David Cameron had highlighted the need for young people to be equipped to compete and having a skilled workforce is vital for the Calder Valley to maintain its manufacturing base which accounts for 20 per cent of the workforce.

And, he said statistically, apprenticeships were beneficial financially for those who completed them and the companies they worked for.

“Seventy-two per cent of employers reported that apprenticeships improved productivity,” he said.

“Around two thirds also said they improved staff morale, aided staff retention, improved their product or service, gave a positive image in the sector, and brought new ideas to the organisation.

“On average employers recoup their investment within one to two years if they retain their apprentice.

“Vocational education in our country has never really has a good press.

“For decades we have seen an absolute decline in trades and vocational education within schools.

“For decades we have treated vocational trades as a lesser thing than university.

“We have had a real quest to put all and sundry through University education with very little relevance in some cases to the economic needs of our country.”

Mr Whittaker said the Government had now taken action and made money available to companies taking on apprenticeships and since 2010 more than one million apprenticeships had been started.