A campaign led by Wiltshire Council to boost awareness of the important role of apprenticeships is progressing well with a business engagement programme now underway.
Members of the council's Employment and Skills team are visiting business leaders across the county for face-to-face meetings to offer advice on how they can get their company involved with an apprenticeship programme.
A month on since the campaign was launched at a reception at County Hall, the process of engaging directly with businesses throughout the county to encourage them to consider taking on an apprentice is now fully underway. The team have already met with a range of organisations, from large scale industrial employers to small and medium sized businesses and schools. But they are keen for more employers to get in touch.
Anyone from the business community who would like to arrange a meeting to gather more information about apprenticeships can get in touch on 01225 713217.
The campaign seeks to grow the numbers of apprenticeships available in the county, urging more businesses to sign up to a scheme, and with a particular focus on encouraging learners to develop through the apprenticeships programme, up to higher and degree apprenticeships.
Working in partnership with apprenticeship providers across the county, the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Training Provider Network, the National Apprenticeship Service, and a number of employer apprenticeship ambassadors, the campaign will culminate with a graduation ceremony for the county's higher and advanced apprentices at Salisbury Cathedral in October 2016.
Wiltshire Council is also one of the ceremony partner sponsors for the South West, Thames Valley and Solent Apprenticeship Awards 2015, which took place in Berkshire on Thursday (22 Oct). The event aimed to celebrate the achievements of the region's current apprentices.
Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, Wiltshire Council cabinet member with responsibility for economic development and skills, said: "The campaign is still in its early days, but it's got off to a great start. It is not just focused on increasing numbers, but about delivering real value to those considering an apprenticeship, or a business potentially taking one on."
Over the coming year a raft of media opportunities, business events and school engagements will be designed to push forward the county's aspirations around growing apprenticeships.
On average there are around 5,000 apprenticeship starts each year in Wiltshire. The Government's aspiration is for three million starts nationally. Keeping up with national aspirations will mean that by 2019/20 Wiltshire will need to increase starts to 6,750.
Last year, just 40 individuals achieved a higher apprenticeship in the county, while 40 per cent of all apprenticeship starts are at Level 3.
For further information on employing apprentices, please contact the Wiltshire Council Employment and Skills Team on 01225 716890 or email: Wiltshire.Apprenticeships@Wiltshire.gov.uk