More chances for our apprentices

A COUNCIL-sponsored scheme to promote apprenticeships is gaining national recognition and is set to expand.

About £100,000 has so far been spent on 50 apprentice places in Calderdale.

Such has been its success that councillors are looking at additional support of £50,000 to provide 20 employee grants at £2,000 and 10 at £1,000.

The scheme was showcased at an event in Manchester, where 180 delegates from local authorities and partner organisations were gathered.

Calderdale Council leader Janet Battye said the latest figures clearly indicate that more needs to be done to tackle youth unemployment.

“We are taking practical steps to give young people the opportunities to gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to give them the best possible chances,” she said.

Support for apprenticeships is available to small to medium-sized companies providing openings for people aged 16-24 and living in Calderdale.

Project Challenge, the Dean Clough-based charity which helps vulnerable young people by providing an intensive programme of classroom learning and physical training, took on an apprentice, Tom Harnett, in August.

Manager Lorna Butterick said: “Tom is now doing 37 hours a week with two half days for study. He is due to complete a Level 2 NVQ in September next year.”

Tom said: “I decided I wanted a career working with young people within a sport environment – an apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to qualify in the area without building up debts to go to university.”

A grant also enabled Michael Charimootoo, owner of MU2 Electrical, to take on an apprentice.

“Without it, I would certainly have struggled to employ the young person.”