• Local Apprenticeships Matter

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    13 March 2019

    Last week it was National Apprenticeship Week so an excellent opportunity to catch up with some of those in the constituency who are involved in training and wishing to take on apprenticeships. This is a skills area that the government has rightly prioritised with hundreds of thousands of new apprentices being taken on each year. There are apprenticeships available for over 1,500 different job roles – everything from engineering to hairdressing. From the employer’s point of view apprentices provide a valuable contribution to the workforce with training support provided offsite for typically a day a week. From the apprentices point of view skills and training can be secured at the same time as earning a salary as part of a proper job and without having to take on the kind of financial commitments that typically come with a university education. The value of an apprenticeship is clear with a higher level apprentices translating into around £150,000 extra earnings across a career. So it was great to catch up last week with Moor Training in Okehampton who specialise in plumbing and domestic heating apprenticeships. Aimee Worrall and her team do an amazing job getting young people ready for the world of work and contribute significantly to the local economy in the process. I have fond memories of attending one of their graduation ceremonies and handing out certificates to a number of very well deserving apprentices. I also caught up with Ben Goodall at Focus Training who are based in Heathfield. This forward looking company is providing apprenticeships in areas such as Retail, Hospitality, Care, Sales, Warehousing, Business Administration, Management, Team Leading and Customer Service. The company operates right across Devon and Cornwall and is shortly to open a new training centre in Plymouth. Also I was pleased to catch up with farmers who are looking to take on apprentices. This is an excellent way of helping not only to bring new skills into farming but also to make sure that farming attracts younger owners and younger managers of the future. This was also an opportunity to answer questions around Brexit and particularly about the possible tariff policy we might adopt if we leave without a deal with the EU. The level of tariffs that we set on our rest of the world trade will have to balance the need to keep food prices under control but at the same time protect our domestic agricultural sector. Farmers will in my view need some level of tariff protection and of course we also need to make sure that there is a level playing field between our farmers and their high standards and those of overseas farmers whose food we import. This is an issue that I have pressed hard with ministers in government and I am confident that we will be doing the right thing by our vital agricultural sector. To learn more about the opportunities offered by apprentices visit More from Mel on twitter at @MelJStride and online at