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Business backing for apprenticeship drive

Businesses have thrown their support behind a new initiative to create apprenticeship roles across Birmingham and Solihull.

Ladder for Greater Birmingham was launched last week with the aim of creating 1,000 new apprentices across the two areas.

It is being run by community development group The Vine Trust and training provider Performance Through People in conjunction with BirminghamLive with support from Prince Andrew who was involved in similar ‘Ladder’ initiatives for the Black Country and Staffordshire.

This latest ladder is being majority funded by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and has also won backing from Mayor Andy Street and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

Business chiefs have also been quick to voice their support for the campaign.

Tim Pile, chairman of Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, said it was “hugely encouraging” that regional businesses had signalled their intention to get on board with the campaign so soon after its launch.

“One of the LEP’s key priorities is ensuring we raise aspirations and promote opportunities for our young people by giving them the skills that industries need, driving economic growth throughout Greater Birmingham and Solihull.

“It is clear from similar Ladder programmes in neighbouring areas this is a successful tool in offering people a path to a new start and real career progression.

“We urge firms and partners across the region to get in touch with us and find out how they can support this campaign and increase their own productivity and business performance.”


Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said:

“It’s fantastic that the Ladder is coming to Birmingham after transforming so many young people’s lives in other areas.

“The latest Sutton Trust research shows that we still have some way to go in persuading every school teacher and parent that apprenticeships offer sustainable employment and a high-quality learning route to a successful career for young people of all abilities.

“But initiatives such as the Ladder are undoubtedly making a difference and it’s great to see that Birmingham and Solihull are about to feel the benefit.”

Jason Holt, chairman of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, grew up working for his family’s own business and says there is no substitute for learning on the job.

“Having the ability to train your team and share your expertise directly with the next generation of workers is one of the best ways for employers to develop their businesses,” he said.

“I’ve spent over 15 years championing apprenticeships and, in my new role as chairman of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, I will continue even more.

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for people of all ages and backgrounds to invest in their future and I believe that they are the best way for employers to build their business.”

Paul Cowley is director of corporate affairs AF Blakemore & Son, the Willenhall-based retail group which operates Spar convenience stores, he said:

“When AF Blakemore was invited to participate in the Ladder for the Black Country scheme, we saw this as a great opportunity to help attract future talent to our business.

“We became the first company to recruit through the scheme when we took on an accounts assistant.

“This was just the start and we have continued to see apprenticeships as a critical recruitment channel.

“With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, schemes such as the Ladder have become even more relevant to business by helping bridge the gap between employers and young people.”

For more information about Ladder for Greater Birmingham and to get involved click here or call 03332 409 699.