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Ladder For Shropshire apprenticeship scheme is relaunched with new partner

By Thom Kennedy | Business | Published: | Last Updated:

The Ladder for Shropshire, the campaign which created more than 100 apprenticeships to upskill the county’s workforce, is today being relaunched.

Salop Design and Engineering director Christopher Greenough said that they were keen to get involved in the Ladder for Shropshire

Apprenticeships are gaining increasing importance in ensuring Shropshire has the next generation of skilled workers to keep its economy thriving.

Salop Design & Engineering, which has an apprenticeship academy at its home in Brixton Way in Shrewsbury, has now joined the campaign along with the Shropshire Star and The Marches Skills Provider Network to help connect employers with the future stars of their business.

It comes as a new apprentice academy is built in Bridgnorth – the Marches Centre for Manufacturing and Technology – which aims to train 2,020 apprentices by 2020.

Christopher Greenough, director of tier two metal pressings and assemblies’ manufacturer Salop, said: “Salop Design & Engineering are keen to get involved and help drive the Ladder forward to make sure all benefit from the new apprentice standards.

“We are a family run, privately owned business, that has been in the sector and region for fifty years. We have seen the highs and lows of the UK economy, manufacturing and the skills gap.

“In 2015 we were struggling to find a competent, local training provider to give our staff and apprentices the real life training they need to become our engineers of the future.

“We were in fact sending our apprentices to Walsall to a training provider we had used for many years. This training provider is well respected in the manufacturing and engineering sector, and so we took the bold step of teaming up with them, renovating part of our site and setting up a training centre to help close the skills gap in Shropshire.

“We are working now to support our training centre, with the Marches LEP, other training providers, local schools, colleges and universities to create a plan for joined up thinking in training.

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“Let’s have interaction with the schools, to educate them on the ways manufacturing has changed, and on the opportunities available to them.”

After being launched in early 2015, more than 100 young people in the county found themselves in new jobs via the Ladder.

Now it is being relaunched in recognition of the growing need to pass on skills to the next generation, and to retain young people in the county’s workforce to ensure Shropshire has a thriving business landscape in the future.

It comes on the back of significant changes to apprenticeships in the UK, including the Apprenticeship Levy which has been designed to help pay for training of apprentices with a levy on companies whose total wage bill is more than £3 million.

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Clair Schafer of SBC Training and the Marches Skills Provider Network said: “The aim of the levy is there will be a wider range of opportunities and the frameworks are being tailored to exactly meet employers’ requirements.

“The network is trying to improve advice and guidance so young people are more aware of the apprenticeships available locally, where the demand is.

“It’s about having good labour market information for young people so they know what sort of jobs there are – what range, and what level they can achieve.”

Shropshire Star editor Martin Wright said: “We were very pleased with the achievements of the Ladder, and surpassed our own expectations with the number of jobs that were created.

“With the issue of skills in the workforce becoming ever-more pressing, and with the need to ensure we have the talents and capabilities necessary to make a success of Brexit, this seemed like the perfect time to relaunch the Ladder.

“The Ladder will be working hard to connect businesses with apprentices. This will ensure employers are confident that the roles they create will be filled and they can expand in Shropshire, and will give young people a foot on the career ladder that could take them to the top of their industry.”

Mr Greenough said he saw several ways to connect businesses with young people.

His plans for apprenticeships include:

  • Getting more business leaders, directors and chief executives into schools and colleges to talk about their sector and how they progressed through their training to reach the top of their company.
  • Releasing funding to pay to take school teachers into businesses during the summer holidays, to teach them about business, manufacturing and the opportunities that sectors have for careers.
  • Encouraging schools to visit businesses, allowing time in the curriculum for this to happen
  • Showing schools, youngsters and teachers that a vocational route is as important as a university route.
  • Encouraging training providers to work with business, and engage with learning institutions.

“The best way to enthuse a young person is to show them what the real world holds for them,” Mr Greenough added.

“This will lead to youngsters actively looking to STEM subjects to push their career choice.

“An apprenticeship route can be the start of a path to a degree. This same work needs to be done to engage and work with parents who still look to STEM subjects, vocational learning and apprenticeships as the go to route when things have not gone well at school.”

“We also need to link job roles, titles to subjects taught at school, and link this to STEM subjects. We need to promote more STEM interaction from schools, teachers, parents and business. STEM needs to become ingrained, as a way of thinking, an become part of education in all forms

For details visit ladderforshropshire.co.uk, call 0330 999 8441 or 0800 999 8441or e-mail ladder@apprentice-provid ers.co.uk

Thom Kennedy

By Thom Kennedy
Business Editor - @tkennedy_star

Shropshire Star Business Editor

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