Hertfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is encouraging young people to get involved in apprenticeship schemes as part of the national Apprenticeship Week from 11- 15 March.

Work is well underway on a new ‘Apprenticeships Strategy’ which aims to encourage more businesses in the county to offer young people valuable work experience opportunities.

Participation is increasing and last year over 9,996 young people in Hertfordshire took part in apprenticeships, compared to 5260 in 2009/10 but the LEP is keen to ensure that even more people get a foot up in the working world.

The new strategy will focus on:

  • raising awareness of apprenticeship opportunities (including adult apprenticeships) and links to priority sectors and future needs
  • increasing focus up to people aged 25 plus
  • supporting employers (SMEs) to employ apprenticesincreasing the access to apprenticeships
  • providing high quality information, advice and guidance

On Tuesday 5 March, LEP Chair John Gourd presented the key note speech at this year’s Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) conference "Enabling young people to succeed" organised by Youth Connexions Hertfordshire. Conference attendees included careers coordinators, connexions coordinators and sixth form heads from Hertfordshire schools and Youth Connexions Personal Advisers. Workshops included presentations from the University of Hertfordshire, the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, the National Apprenticeship Service and private businesses.

The event provided an opportunity for the LEP to lay out its vision for apprenticeships schemes in Hertfordshire.

LEP Chair John Gourd said: “We should be equipping young people with the skills they need to succeed in their chosen careers. Too often, education can be supply driven rather than demand led. Young people want to work and as employers it is our responsibility to provide them with appropriate opportunities to do so. The LEP encourages employers and young people to take part in apprenticeship schemes and ensure that Hertfordshire continues to have a world leading work force and a successful growing economy”.

LEP Business Administration Apprentice, Jessie Edwards, also gave a presentation at the conference. She said: “I’ve really gained confidence from taking on new challenges at work and it feels great being a useful part of my team. School and work are completely different, so it’s been helpful to have a year to adjust to a work environment. Being an apprentice has given me skills that will help throughout my career.”

The LEP also endorses a number of other schemes helping young people gain independence and access to work including Scoots, a ‘wheels to work’ scheme funded by Hertfordshire County Council’s Big Herts Big Ideas programme.

For details from Youth Connexions regarding apprenticeships click here and click here for the National Apprenticeship Service website