Apprenticeship hub launched to support businesses and young people

Leeds has launched its Apprenticeship HUB to offer free and impartial advice on all things apprenticeship related.

Backed by funding from Leeds City Region, the HUB will be working with small to medium sized businesses across the city and young people aged 16-24 to help match businesses with apprentices and vice versa.

The HUB launched in September 2013 and has already engaged with over 60 businesses who are looking to create new apprenticeship opportunities, and has registered 450 young people through the various workshops and events it has held. Since 2011 nearly 15,000 apprenticeships have been created in Leeds, and currently there are over 200 opportunities available in the city, ranging from kitchen assistants, business administrators to engineers.

Case study – Kirk Newsholme, accountants and business advisors

Based at Thorpe Park in Leeds, Kirk Newsholme is an accountancy firm going the extra mile to engage the local community and help young people into work. They are signed up to the apprenticeship hub to offer more apprenticeships to young people as and when they become available.

The company have spent a lot of time engaging with schools in the local community to share with young people the advantages of the apprentice route into employment as an alternative to university. The company currently have three apprentices working with them, two of which have been with the company for two years and are due to complete their AAT studies next year and one that joined the company in September, who is working in the business services team as a trainee accountant and studying for her AAT qualification.

The company believes that the right Apprentice will be focused on a chosen future and will have researched that career and the type of business that they would like to train with. The employer will be able to identify those focused, mature individuals who have the drive and enthusiasm to join a team and start learning new skills and building new relationships from day one.

Jill Wright, director at Kirk Newsholme, said:

“Our Apprentices are enthusiastic, engaged young people who are very keen to learn.

“Once they join the team they start to learn their new roles very quickly. We invest heavily in the training and development of our Apprentices, and are supported greatly by our training provider BPP. We have found that with the right people, the level of enthusiasm and engagement they bring along is fantastic and a great addition to our company, so the investment soon pays for itself.

“We have engaged with a number of our local schools to share our stories of how successful the Apprentice route into a professional qualification has been for us and our students and we are grateful to those schools and colleges who have helped us to promote this.”

Apprenticeships are becoming a progression route of choice for many young people with learning available at different levels from an intermediate level 2, up to advanced and higher level at level 3 and 4. Taking an apprenticeship route gives young people the opportunity to work for a real employer, earn a real salary and gain a real qualification whilst gaining valuable workplace skills and experience.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for leisure and skills said:

“The apprenticeship hub is a great resource for businesses and young people alike.

“In Leeds we want to dramatically increase numbers of young people accessing apprenticeship opportunities in the city and grow the number of businesses that are delivering apprenticeships as part of delivering our ambition to become a NEET (young person not in education, employment or training) free City by 2015.

“Already this year the city has taken great strides in seeking to reduce youth unemployment among 16-24 year olds, and helping those who may need additional support to make the choices that help them to progress.

“Taking an apprenticeship route gives young people the opportunity to work for a real employer, earn a real salary and gain a real qualification whilst gaining valuable workplace skills and experience.”

The hub has already delivered a range of sessions for young people interested in starting their careers this way, including -making a winning application workshop, on-line ‘your hired’ interview skills sessions and promoting opportunities and vacancies to young people across the city. The school engagement programme has supported over 289 young people with information and advice.

A number of businesses in the city have already signed up to the hub to offer apprenticeships, and also offered their advice to other businesses about the benefits of taking on an apprentice - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qj5RaVM1mc

For more information about the HUB call 0113 2476220 or visit www.leeds.gov.uk/apprenticeships,


For media enquiries, please contact;

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

Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk