Help the Star create 100 new jobs for Ipswich!

SUFFOLK: Today we launch an appeal which could change the lives and secure the futures of scores of youngsters in our area.

As youth unemployment rockets to unprecedented levels, The Evening Star is throwing down the gauntlet to employers in Suffolk to make a real difference – and take on 100 apprentices in 100 days.

The first organisation to back the cause has already signed up – Ipswich Hospital today pledged to take on two apprentices as part of the scheme, which will officially kick-off in January.

Now we are urging others to follow the hospital’s lead.

There are hundreds of young people keen to start work but not quite ready to give up on their education.

And there are dozens of companies which need apprentices.

Our 100 in 100 Apprenticeship campaign will bring these two groups together.

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Julie Fryatt, human resources director at Ipswich Hospital, said she was delighted to back the campaign.

“We need to look at how we bring people into the workforce, especially at the moment when there are lots of people thinking about their options during a period of economic uncertainty,” she added.

Apprenticeships bring huge value to organisations, employers, individuals and the economy. Research shows they are a superb way of training and developing people, helping businesses secure a supply of people with the skills and qualities they need and which were often not available on the external job market.

Our campaign – run in conjunction with the National Apprenticeship Service – will invigorate the county’s businesses by bringing the vitality, drive and willingness to learn of our young people to their shop floors, offices and warehouses.

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “Over the coming weeks and months, we will feature young people who want to become apprentices, those already benefiting from the schemes, the companies that employ them and the organisations that train them.

“And we will show that by giving young people a chance to make their futures brighter, our businesses can reap the rewards today.”

Business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar, who is currently hunting for his own apprentice on the hit BBC TV show, added: “It’s important that employers take apprenticeships seriously.

“Apprentices make things happen and can help a business to grow and thrive.”

- Our campaign is now under way – but will be launched in full force in January – the time Ipswich and Suffolk will need new opportunities as never before.

We’d like to hear from anyone who wants to get involved right now – and we’ll detail much of the work to be undertaken in January before Christmas.

We’ll be working closely with the National Apprenticeship Service on the project.

Contact us via Michelle.Dorrell@archant.co.uk or write to the Editor, The Evening Star, 30, Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.