10 MAR 2015

Marking National Apprenticeship Week - Helen Grant MP praises KCC local apprenticeship scheme

National Apprenticeship Week celebrates apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on businesses, individuals and the wider economy.

MP for Maidstone & the Weald, Helen Grant supported the initiative locally when she met local Business Administration Apprentice, Gemma Clarke to learn more about her experience. This year a group of Kent County Council apprentices are taking part in a nationally sponsored Brathay Apprenticeship Challenge. Gemma, along with other apprentices from across the country, are competing in a number of challenges which include raising the profile of apprenticeships for young people and employers in Kent and undertaking projects to help the local community.

Helen Grant was delighted with the scheme and commented:

"Apprenticeships can provide a fantastic opportunity for young people to get on in life and can raise the productivity of the businesses they join. It's great to hear that KCC are raising the profile of apprenticeships for young people around Kent. With 1 in 5 companies having a former apprentice on their board, it could be a ticket to the top of a career ladder. This is why I am pleased the Prime Minister has set the ambition of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020"

Gemma said:

"Throughout my apprenticeship I have learnt a variety of skills and gained lots of confidence in talking to people about what I do. My apprenticeship has opened up numerous doors for me whilst giving me an insight into the world of work. I feel that my apprenticeship has allowed me to start my career and help me understand where I want to progress to in the future."

Helen and Gemma were joined by Tom Oulton who is an Apprenticeship Development Officer at Kent County Council, who oversees the development of such programmes. He told Mrs Grant:

"Kent County Council values the role apprentices' play within the organisation. We took on 122 last year and look set to take on even more this year. Local businesses have an equally important role to play in creating apprenticeships, and we have seen an incredible response over the last few years as Kent has created record numbers of apprenticeships."

"An apprenticeship is a bit like a bridge between education and employment in that it provides the apprentice with the opportunity to work, earn and learn. The apprentice can get their feet under the table, gain a relevant qualification and embark on a successful career with a business or in an industry. Businesses can likewise equip their future work force with the skills, experience and qualifications they require."

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