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Apprenticeships week celebrates another year of success
Monday 3rd March, 2014

Apprenticeships week celebrates another year of success
Georgina Atherton

A national campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships is being backed by Wigan Council.

The seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week will take place from 3rd – 7th March. It is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

Wigan Council will be offering people the chance to drop in and find out more about either becoming an apprentice, or taking one on through their business, throughout the day on Thursday 6th March. Members of staff will be hosting a stand in the Life Centre North on The Wiend in Wigan, so anyone can call in, ask questions and take away more information.

The council now employs 70 apprentices on programmes which range from one to three years in length, working in areas including HR and payroll, safeguarding, public relations, planning, social services, education and financial assessment. Twenty-one people have gone on to be employed by the council after their apprenticeship, and companies across Wigan Borough are being encouraged to take on apprentices of their own with support, training and guidance provided by the council.

Deputy leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux, said: “The apprenticeship programme here has been really successful and is going from strength to strength. We have supported apprenticeships for many years but have made a real commitment to a programme of recruitment of apprentices since 2012.

“Everyone benefits from an apprenticeship; employers find productivity increases, new ideas are brought into the business and staff retention improves. Apprentices themselves get the chance to earn a salary and get a qualification while also gaining valuable workplace skills and experience. Apprenticeships are available at intermediate, advanced and higher levels, covering more than 170 industries and 1500 job roles. For many people they are a great route into getting valuable workplace experience and improving their skills, but for some they can be a real alternative to going to university.

“As Wigan Council cabinet member for the economy, I am focused on economic development across the borough, and our strategy for developing a skilled workforce. I would encourage businesses to get in touch with us to find out how they could benefit from taking on an apprentice, and for anyone not currently in full time education to look at an apprenticeship as their next step forward.”

Georgina Atherton (20), from Pemberton is a business and administration apprentice at the council. She said: “When I first heard about the council's apprenticeship scheme, I was working in a job that didn’t really suit my creative skills. I thought it looked like a good opportunity so applied for it and I’ve been a business and administration apprentice in the Public Relations team since April 2013.

“It is brilliant to be part of a busy team and I have had the chance to work on a variety of projects, including the ‘Believe’ campaign and the new council website. I’ve now moved on to the level three qualification in Business Administration and am being supported to study a specialist marketing qualification from September. I feel like my career in marketing has had a kick start and the experience I’ve gained will help me progress in the future, so I would definitely recommend apprenticeships.”

For more information email apprenticeships@aepnw.co.uk or visit the info stand in the Life Centre (North), The Wiend, Wigan on Thursday 6th March.

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