Bristol Evening Post's apprentice campaign hits target of 100 firms
AROUND 150 young people today have the chance of a brighter future thanks to the Evening Post's campaign to find new apprenticeships.
We set a target of finding 100 firms in 100 days to offer jobs to apprentices.
And last night we passed that magical total as the 100th firm came forward.
Bristol Uniforms Ltd, of Wathen Street, Staple Hill, said they would take on six apprentices.
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Minutes later three more companies offered apprenticeships, bringing the grand total to 103.
They range from small firms employing a handful of people to large companies with hundreds on their books.
The apprenticeships offered include training as plumbers and car repairers, hairdressers, beauticians and retail workers.
Already more than 50 youngsters have started jobs following our call for firms to take on more school and college leavers and to train them.
Today people from across Bristol have praised the campaign.
So too have the city's MPs from across the political divide.
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore said it showed how a determined campaign could produce results.
The Commons deputy speaker and Bristol South MP Dawn Primarolo said it was an important campaign. It began in June when we set out with the aim of finding 100 apprenticeships in 100 days.
We passed that total in a matter of hours.
So we decided to set a tougher target of finding 100 firms in 100 days willing to offer apprenticeships.
Even for a city the size of Bristol, this was a tall order.
But the response from companies large and small was fantastic.
The 100th company, Bristol Uniforms, was established in 1801 and last year signed a deal to design and produce uniforms for the Fire Service across the UK.
Its six apprentices will be trained as machinists to work on this and other contracts, and to be offered training and a career.
Claire Arbery, contracts manager at City of Bristol College, said: "We are delighted that we were able to support Bristol Uniforms with their request to train their new staff on an apprenticeship programme.
"This will allow them to gain recognised qualifications that will acknowledge the skills they have learned and developed while learning to become a qualified machinist, and earning a salary at the same time."
They were among large organisations, local authorities, universities, family-run businesses and fledgling start-up companies who answered our call to provide apprenticeships for young people.
There are 56 apprentices already working in companies thanks to our campaign, and many more are waiting to take up their posts, or be interviewed.
Evening Post editor Mike Norton said: "To have achieved the goal before the end of the 100-day campaign is an incredible achievement, not by us but by the businesses of Bristol.
"We are delighted that so many have chosen to give opportunities to young people in the area.
"Apprenticeships can really give them a positive start on the career ladder, which is vital in such uncertain economic times.
"Our campaign may have reached its goal, but we want businesses to continue to offer apprenticeships and benefit from bringing talented young people into their companies."
The Post's campaign has been supported by the National Apprenticeships Service, a government initiative designed to increase the number of apprenticeship opportunities across the country.
Geri Bowie, employer service manager at the NAS, said: "We are delighted that the Evening Post has reached its target of getting 100 businesses to offer apprenticeships in 100 days.
"The businesses have responded fantastically, and even during a difficult economic climate they have seen the value of apprenticeships and the need for getting new blood into their organisations.
"This campaign is really changing the lives of young people in Bristol.
"There are people who are now in jobs who would otherwise not have had these opportunities, and getting that foot on the first rung of the career ladder is vital.
"These people will learn habits, skills and behaviours that will serve them well over the lifetime of their careers. That is what apprenticeships are all about."
Bristol News & Media managing director Dawna Stickler said: "The response to this campaign has been amazing. It's extremely positive that so many local businesses are prepared to offer young people a career focus.
"Bristol can only benefit from this in the future."
City council leader Barbara Janke said: "It is good to hear that so many businesses have backed the campaign and that the Evening Post has hit its target.
"I would like to thank everyone who has been involved.
"Working together, we have been able to support a new generation of young people as they set out on their careers, helping them gain the experience and training they need to secure long term employment.
"This is vital both for these young people and for the continued success of Bristol's employment sector.
"It brings in a new pool of talent and ideas, to ensure the city thrives."
Lord Mayor of Bristol Colin Smith said: "This is excellent news. I am delighted to see so many businesses coming forward to offer people in the city the chance to gain an apprenticeship.
"Apprenticeships offer them valuable work experience supported by professional training – and thanks to the Evening Post's ambitious campaign there are now more than 100 apprentices able to benefit from this exciting start to their careers."
Mr Skidmore said: "I'm absolutely delighted that the Bristol Evening Post has not just met its original target but now has more than 100 Bristol businesses signed up.
"It goes to show that not only is Bristol committed to trying to help young people secure a great future but that a determined campaign really can deliver visible results."
Ms Primarolo said: "Late last year I convened a meeting with the Post, major employers and public sector organisations in the city to discuss how to make sure young people have the opportunities they deserve.
"It was clear from that meeting how important it is that we work together to make sure young people can get into work.
"This important campaign has been magnificently supported by Bristol's businesses, and I congratulate everyone who has provided an apprenticeship in our city."
Kerry McCarthy, Labour's Bristol East MP, said: "The Evening Post are to be congratulated on their campaign to persuade local employers to recruit more apprentices.
"It seems to have been an outstanding success, which will give many young people in Bristol the opportunity to train, get qualifications and experience the world of work.
"It will make a real difference to these young people's lives and I hope that they all go on to have successful careers in their chosen fields."