A CAMPAIGN to find 100 apprenticeships for 100 Eastbourne apprentices has got off to a flying start.
The initiative was launched at the Town Hall last Friday morning and by the end of the morning 38 apprenticeships had been pledged by local employers.
Only 62 more apprenticeships need to be pledged by August 28 for the target to be met.
More than 200 people attended including employers and local training providers as well as apprentices who talked about their experiences and how it has changed their lives.
The campaign is the brainchild of Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd in collaboration with the National Apprenticeship Service. Similar schemes have run in Portsmouth.
Mr Lloyd said, “I’ve been working on this initiative for months as part of my wider mission to transform the local economy and secure more jobs for our town.
“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for people to learn skills relevant to the workplace, giving them the best possible chance of securing employment, and they are great for businesses too, who can ill afford not to have a highly trained and skilled workforce in such a competitive world.
“I was overwhelmed by the really positive response from the local business community; this challenge is well under way and I would urge other local businesses and organisations considering hiring apprentices to find out more about the scheme by contacting me either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling my office on 733030.
“We need more local employers to take part in the challenge if it is to be a success - the training providers tell me they have many budding apprentices ready and waiting.”
Among those who spoke about the launch was Gary Lester, a former apprentice who rose through the ranks and is now managing director at Mears Ltd.
He said, “I was absolutely delighted to take part in Stephen’s apprenticeship challenge.
“As a leading maintenance provider to social housing and a market leader in domiciliary care throughout the UK, Mears are passionate about apprenticeships, which is why we pledged to recruit five new Eastbourne apprentices on the day.
“Two of our current apprentices also spoke movingly at the launch about how getting an apprenticeship had transformed their lives.”
n Don’t miss next week’s Herald for a free pull-out highlighting apprenticeship opportunities across the area.