Apprentices rule

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Jenna Unwin started as a Saturday girl in a sweet shop, took a retail apprenticeship and now she’s the manager of one – and she’s still only 17.

The Rotherham teenager clearly has the talent and drive – the one-year course covered the rest.

Apprenticeships are being celebrated across the country this week – and in our Business Weekly supplement today – for giving people experience, a wage and a qualification.

From a low point in the early 1990s, today they are bigger than ever after the Government spent billions subsidising training and wages.

At one point things got a bit silly. Traditional schemes still existed, especially in engineering, but some apprenticeships, such as visual merchandising, only lasted a few weeks.

Training providers got rich on taxpayers’ cash but the benefit to the public was limited.

That was three years ago, since then the Government has cracked down and courses must now last at least a year.

Unfortunately, Jenna says she’s gone through four apprentices of her own in the last five months because none of the young people stayed the course.

But that’s another story.