Apprenticeships in the North East: Helping careers and businesses to thrive

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North East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (NEAAN), a sponsor at the North East Apprenticeship Awards, has welcomed a major government boost, which could help create careers and develop businesses in the North East.

Apprenticeships are crucial to the future of the UK economy. This was evident when the Prime Minister announced reforms and £60m funding to create 20,000 new apprentice posts.

The move was applauded by the North East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (NEAAN), which was created to stimulate interest in apprenticeships and drive home their many benefits to potential apprentices and businesses alike.

Helping local firms and people

Serving the people and businesses of the North East, NEAAN’s remit is to promote, champion and create apprenticeship opportunities, working with companies and organisations to raise their profile of apprenticeships and encourage firms of all sizes to engage in the apprenticeship agenda.

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NEAAN Co-Chair, Ian Green, said: “Boardrooms across the UK are full of talented individuals who learned their trade as keen young apprentices. They are the people who power business and industry and inspire others to explore the undoubted opportunity that apprenticeships offer, so it makes sense for the PM to put his faith in recruiting new apprentices to help restart the UK economy and drive us out of recession.

“The £60m that has been announced will reassure those businesses closely monitoring budgets and maybe holding back on investment in such a volatile economic climate, and for the Government to cover the full cost of apprenticeships for under-21s in SMEs is superb.”

The renewed emphasis on apprenticeships from the Government will also help SME that currently don’t engage in the apprenticeship agenda to explore the opportunities and benefits it may present them.

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NEAAN Co-Chair, Jenienne Hinchcliffe, added: “The recognition that an SME can have up to 500 members of staff will really help us convince businesses of this size to engage more with apprenticeships.

“The changes will also simplify the apprenticeship levy, paid by large firms to help create more apprenticeship places. Millions of pounds is currently going unspent and returned to the Treasury. The PM’s new legislation allows firms to share up to 50% of unspent levy with other businesses - something we lobbied – so to see that recognised is important.”

NEAAN also work with young people considering apprenticeships and those who have already embarked on their apprenticeship journey, offering the opportunity of utilising our own national and regional platforms to speak about why they chose an apprenticeship and why it works for them.

Case study: Adam Henderson, Customer service apprentice at Mitie

Adam overcame educational barriers before joining Mitie. He has Autism and ADHD, which affects how he learns. He had also been bullied at college.

He has a determination to “show the world it doesn’t matter if you have disabilities, you can do anything if you put your mind to it”.

He added: “Believe in yourself and it will pay off in the future. I see it as an ability not a disability.

“One of my main tips is don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is key for apprentices to learn from asking colleagues or managers. If you just guess, you might do it wrong. Best way is always to ask. There is no such thing as a silly question – just remember that.”

A member of the Association of Apprentices and NEAAN, Adam has already organised his own apprentice social event, gaining positive reviews.

NEAAN is sponsoring the North East Apprenticeship Awards, organised by Newcastle World and National World. Find out more about the awards event and how you can nominate and individual or business here. Discover more about more about NEAAN here.