SUFFOLK: Business leaders back apprentice campaign

SUFFOLK: Business leaders are queuing up to offer their support to The Evening Star’s campaign to find 100 apprenticeships in 100 days.

The campaign is aiming to get people back to work by offering them training and support, and help businesses hire some exciting new talent at the same time.

Mike Brophy, regional director of Business in the Community, said it was not only local businesses that could contribute, but called on national firms with branches in the area to take up the challenge.

“Businesses should be engaged in supporting apprentices and young people because they should not be excluding any avenue to recruiting talent,” he said.

“Business success – particularly in tough times – needs to be maintained and companies have got to make sure they have the best people they can.

“Apprenticeships are a good way of recruiting talent, because if you overlook particular groups of people without understanding what they can offer, then actually you miss out on the best talent.

“And if you don’t get them now, someone else will, and they will keep them when times get better.”

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He added: “This is a challenge for businesses here and now, because if businesses are good at one thing, it’s seizing the opportunity for some quick wins.”

This campaign forms part of a larger effort to hire apprentices across the country, giving businesses the boost they will need when the economy begins to recover and they need more staff.

John Nice, spokesman for Otley College, which trains apprentices in a range of disciplines, said: “Otley College wholeheartedly backs this fantastic campaign.

“As a college we have helped hundreds of apprentices, of all ages, gain apprenticeship qualifications over the last few years and we have worked with many businesses across the Eastern region.

“We are fully behind The Evening Star and will be doing all we can to back this great campaign.”

Meanwhile business leaders throughout the county have thrown their backing behind the campaign, recognising the benefits it could bring to companies in the area.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce president Dr Peter Funnell said: “Developing and retaining a competent and skilled workforce are two of the key requirements of any successful organisation.

“In this context apprenticeship schemes are one of the more effective and exciting ways in which skills can be developed as they are designed around actual business requirements.”

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