THE Journal's drive for companies to create as many apprenticeships as possible in 100 days is aiming to have signed up more than 1,500 by the time it finishes in a fortnight.
Already 100 Days: The Apprenticeship Challenge has seen businesses in the region sign up 1,431 apprentices, which is nearly 100 more than in last year’s very successful campaign.
Then, the North East created 1,355 apprenticeships, more than any other region in the country.
The scheme originally aimed to sign up 100 apprentices in 100 days. The Apprenticeship Challenge is organised by the National Apprenticeship Service in association with the North East Chamber of Commerce, and championed by The Journal and its Teesside sister newspaper, the Evening Gazette.
Alan Wallace, head of employer accounts for the NAS, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the level of support for the campaign by North East businesses.
“And I would like to sincerely thank every employer who has committed to recruit an apprentice.
“Apprenticeships are an extremely cost-effective way of developing staff and offer a significant return on investment.
“The level of employer support for the campaign from employers of all sizes and from all sectors is testament to this. “As well as benefiting young people by offering them life changing career opportunities, apprenticeships also bring many proven benefits to businesses.
“These include increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a committed highly skilled work-force. We want the momentum and enthusiasm for the campaign to continue and would like to encourage more employers to get involved in the final two weeks.”
James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “I would be surprised if any other region in the country has shown the level of support to apprenticeships as we have in the North East.
“I would therefore encourage all businesses to take inspiration from the level of support we have witnessed with this campaign and give their support to the next generation of our business community.”
Find out more from the National Apprenticeship Service on 0800 015 0600 or www.apprenticeships.org.uk