Today’s column: Apprenticeships key for city

Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley.
Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley.
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If we’re going to rebalance our economy and create the jobs we need for the future, then apprenticeships and vocational qualifications will have to play a big part in that alongside the university route for young people.

We’ve seen a big focus on apprenticeships over recent years, which can be a great opportunity to gain both real work experience and the skills that will secure future employment.

Many employers say experience is the main thing they look for when hiring, so these courses offer a chance to gain this and help to sharpen up young people’s CVs.

We have so many great employers in the city who have signed up to take college students on and provide the training they need in order to succeed.

Roughly 500 employers offer apprenticeships through Sheffield College which shows the huge engagement from local employers in providing skills for young people.

Sheffield City Council have created 4,000 apprenticeships since 2011 and have pledged to make 4,000 more over the next four years, showing the dedication of the city to our young people’s futures.

With the biggest apprentice rate of any English city we are clearly ambitious to provide training and skills locally.

Whether in engineering, administration, childcare or catering there is a huge range of sectors that now offer apprenticeships in the city.

They provide opportunities that weren’t there before and training courses throughout the year in college and higher level apprenticeships through the universities to improve skills further.

And all of this means I am once again looking for an apprentice to join my constituency team.

This will be the second apprentice in my team since I was elected and I hope to continue to be able to do this throughout my time as a Member of Parliament.

I want local young people to have access to training through my office and gain an understanding of the role of an MP, which is why I also run an extensive work experience programme for local students through the summer.

Many young people under the age of 25 will not benefit from the Government’s so-called Living Wage, particularly apprentices whose wages are as little as £3.30 an hour but as a Living Wage employer the successful applicant will receive the real living wage.

Applications close August 19, full details here: The Sheffield college