Apprentice turns chief executive of Leeds Apprenticeship Training Agency

The new chief executive of Leeds Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA) starts next week (4 November) and will be drawing on his experiences 18 years ago when he started as an apprentice.

Matthew Thomas, born and brought up in Leeds, has spent his career working with businesses across the city. Starting off as an apprentice electrician with BCS Electrics (based in East End Park,Leeds) in 1995 he worked his way up to become managing director at the company.

Recently Matthew has been an active committee member of the IOD Young Directors Forum, and over the past few years he has also undertaken personal development work with the Common Purpose Leadership Programme, and also the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Programme in 2012, facilitated with the University of Leeds and based out of SHINE on Harehills Road.

Matthew joins the Leeds ATA from the Navigate Academies Trust, based in Garforth, where he is currently general manager for business services. His role within the agency will be to match talented, focused young apprentices with local businesses who want to skill and grow their workforce.

The ATA is an independent company jointly owned by Leeds City Council and Leeds City College, and showcases the new approach Leeds is taking to creating jobs and developing talent and skills that the city’s businesses need for growth.

Matthew said:

“Having been an apprentice myself, I know first-hand the benefits of this kind of working relationship to both the apprentice and the business.

“I really value what apprentices can bring to a company, and what that company can give back. Whilst I was MD of BCS Electrics, 25% of the workforce were Apprentices or adult trainees.

“Having worked in Leeds with a vast range of businesses, it is great to now be in a role where I can give something back and offer small and medium size businesses the chance to be paired with job ready young people.”

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council and chair of the ATA said:

“It is fantastic to have someone in post that has first-hand knowledge of what apprentices can bring to companies, and what young people can gain from this in return.

“I would like to welcome Matthew to the ATA and look forward to working with him as he moves forward to deliver upon the ATA’s objectives, its business plan and supporting the take-up of apprentices by SME businesses.”

Notes to editors:

The Leeds Apprenticeship Training Agency is a company limited by guaranteed, jointly owned by Leeds City Council and Leeds City College, created to enable the take-up of Apprenticeship placements by the city’s SME business community.

The main aim of the Leeds ATA is to make it as simple as possible for SME’s to take on an apprentice by removing some of the bureaucracy and burdens they would normally face. It will match young people, who are job ready and want to find careers, to apprenticeships with local businesses who want to skill and grow their workforce.

For media enquiries, please contact;

Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk