Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg rolls up his sleeves in Bristol
The Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg rolled up his sleeves and found out what it is like to be an apprentice plumber today. On a whistle-stop tour of the West country Mr Clegg visited the Junction 3 construction site in Easton and met a number of apprentices who are learning a variety of skills.
Mr Clegg joined 17 year old Zach Mealing who is on a four year training course with On Site Bristol. Zach, who lives in Barton Hill, told Mr Clegg that he secured his apprenticeship the good old fashioned way by knocking on doors and asking people to take him on: “It's going all right at the moment” he said “I've always wanted to learn a trade and I thought plumbing was the way forward – everyone always needs a plumber.”
Supervising Zach and the other apprentices is Matthew Shortman: “I've been looking after the apprentices for the past 7 years” he said “It's a great to teach them what you know and pass on the information which will help them in the future.”
“There are opportunities for apprentices after their training finishes and although the market is as quite flat there are always opportunities for good apprentices.” He hit back at critics of modern apprentices “It's a much better scheme than it was a few years ago when I was an apprentice. There is a lot more covered through the scheme and it's recorded better.”
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The key to getting an apprenticeship is finding an employer with enough work to keep apprentices on through the training. The On Site partnership, led by Bristol City Council, supports more than 200 apprentices on the programme at any one time moving them between sites across the city to ensure their training continues.
The Deputy Prime Minister told This is Bristol that they are putting considerable measures in place and announcements are imminent which will help to kick start the construction industry and ensure there are jobs for the apprentices when they qualify.