Campaign for more training for school leavers

TOWN hall bosses are launching a campaign in the New Year to press for more on-the-job training to be made available for school leavers.

Hastings Borough Council (HBC) will be promoting apprenticeships to employers around town by offering information on them, advertising them on its website, with links to the National Apprenticeship Service, as well as setting up a press campaign.

This would involve placing stories and features, as well as adverts in the Observer.

The aim is to create 100 apprenticeships in 100 days.

Councillors discussed the idea at their cabinet meeting on Monday.

Council leader Jeremy Birch said: “Businesses need to train the next generation and there is Government money to do that. We will be pushing this campaign with vigour after Christmas.”

Councillor Birch added that the idea was first raised at the Let’s Do Business networking event at the end of September and got a ‘welcome response’ from companies.

Councillor Peter Chowney, the council’s lead member for regeneration, said: “This is an innovative project and it will be extremely worthwhile, especially with the news this week that our £7 million bid for Regional Growth Fund money has been unsuccessful.

“This is one of the many strands we are using to promote jobs in Hastings. Any policy we discuss we have to think what impact it will have on jobs and regeneration and should not adopt anything that does not have a positive effect on our town.”

Apprenticeships are work-based learning programmes where apprentices learn vocational skills and gain qualifications while earning a wage.

Monica Adams-Acton, head of regeneration and community services for Hastings Borough Council, said: “There is a critical need to develop new employment opportunities in Hastings, and to improve skills, especially for younger and lower-skilled residents. The current economic situation reinforces this need.

“Government funding in the work and skills arena is changing, with resources for work-based learning now being directed at apprenticeships.”

Whitehall is aiming to increase apprenticeship numbers in the UK by 100,000 by 2014.