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Shropshire Star comment: Apprenticeships play hugely important role

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

The creation of apprenticeships for young workers has given the West Midlands hope and a renewed sense of purpose.

Through apprenticeships, young people learn important workplace skills and have found gainful employment, while picking up qualifications that will form the basis of hopefully long and successful careers.

They have obtained a direction in life, learned important life skills from adult colleagues and provided themselves with a platform from which they may rise. Such aspirations as owning a home or car, of starting a family or leading a fulfilling life become one step closer when youngsters have professional skills.

Industry requires a talent pool from which to select the best workers. Without new ideas, energy and high levels of skills, local businesses struggle to grow. Apprenticeships offer people the chance to get into the world of work and develop the skills our businesses need to thrive.

Britain is starting to go it alone on the world stage. In a global market, change is afoot. China will eventually overtake the USA as the world’s key global force while such countries as India, Mexico and Brazil are increasingly competitive.

Our own economy may shrink as others become more powerful, so it is vital the next generation of workers – and businesses – are able to compete against their peers around the world.

Today, workers need to be geographically mobile while also having transferable skills. Many youngsters take their first step along that path by signing up for an apprenticeship.

The scheme also provides additional responsibility to older workers, who can pass on the benefit of their experience through mentoring new recruits, to make sure that youngsters are equipped for all of the challenges they might face. Veteran workers can gain a new set of values as they take apprentices under their wing and try to point them in the right direction.

As the UK looks to rebuild its economy and develop a stronger skills base and a more efficient and productive workforce, apprenticeships are playing a hugely important role.

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For a while, they were almost as big as The Beatles. Now the last two pals in Black Country rock legends Slade have gone their own, separate ways – leaving the band’s legacy in turmoil.

Slade rose from the mean streets of Walsall and Wolverhampton to become international world-beaters. And when the band broke up, as most bands do, bassist Dave Hill and drummer Don Powell kept the flame alive.

Their own band continued to tour, though recently an injury has compromised Don’s drumming abilities.

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That, however, did not prepare him for his ejection from the band – nor, one imagines, did Dave Hill count on Don’s response being to form his own version of Slade.

While Noddy Holder and Jim Lea have long departed the landscape and are happily uninvolved in the latest spat, it’s worth remembering Slade at their best.

Nobody could beat them for a short while and their hard-rocking pop tunes paved the way for Oasis and more. They were international jet-setters whose roots remain in our region.

We ought not to dwell on the latest parting of waves and reflect on the good times.

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