The apprenticeship scheme is one that we totally support. Not only do we actively encourage local businesses to consider employing apprentices, but we also take on apprentices ourselves.

Apprenticeships have been a part of Britain's employment structure for many years and have helped our country to develop some of the best trained and skilled professionals. Many of our longer serving members of staff entered their careers through this route and have gone on to be incredibly successful. However, there was a time when this route into employment was not as popular.

Following the modernisation of apprenticeships, I am really pleased to see this option again on the increase, demonstrated by the amount of interest shown locally. By taking on an apprentice, firms are not only giving a young person the chance to learn a trade for life, but are also helping our local economy to continue to grow. We have already seen the benefits within our own organisation with some of our apprentices being offered permanent jobs within the council.

From apprentices' point of view, they are able to combine their education with work, while also earning a wage. This gives them a great opportunity to put their learning into action and see how it applies to the work place.

We work closely with Chichester College, which is the leading organisation that offers training for apprenticeships in our district. If you own a business, or if you are a young person considering an apprenticeship find out more  or contact Chichester College.

If you own a local business, I would also encourage you to attend the apprenticeship business networking event on Friday 16 October at Boxgrove Village Hall from 12noon until 2.30pm. This gives local businesses the chance to find out about opportunities, incentives and the support available when employing an apprentice. The event has been organised by Chichester District Council and West Sussex Council. Council officers, the Federation of Small Businesses and local colleges will be available to offer you information, advice and support.

Cllr Tony Dignum

Leader of Chichester District Council

September 2015