Helping young Ipswich people gain skills and employment, through apprenticeships, was a key part of Ipswich Labour Party's strategy for economic prosperity in our town.
It formed part of our Manifesto "Labour for Homes and Jobs". Smaller firms found the prospect of taking on apprentices daunting, so we set up our Apprenticeship Brokerage Scheme.
The result last year was 1200 new apprenticeships in Ipswich - the highest number for at least ten years. And so far this year, 620 apprenticeships have been created in Ipswich - the highest number anywhere in the East of England.
The Apprenticeship Brokerage Scheme assists small and medium sized Ipswich businesses when taking on an apprentice, offering support with sourcing suitable candidates for interview, finding a training provider and providing ongoing customer care through the life of apprenticeship.
The scheme, which is part of the Borough Council's Jobs and Skills Fund set up to support the Council’s ambition to support job creation and increase skills within the workforce, is delivered through Papworth Trust.
Council Leader David Ellesmere said: "Our apprentice brokerage scheme was set up to help small local companies who had never taken on an apprentice before.
"Around 96% reported that taking on an apprentice has led to benefits to their business such as new ideas being introduced to the organisation, better morale amongst staff and better staff retention."
Earlier this year, Ipswich company Fizzwig Designs was able to demonstrate how much it has benefitted from the Council's apprenticeship scheme, by winning the 'Apprenticeships 4 England' Silver Employer award. Fizzwig recruited its first apprentice in January last year and now has three who are working towards NVQ qualifications.
The Council, itself, has employed five apprentices in the past year and offers apprenticeship opportunities in fields such as event management, plumbing, gardening, IT and customer service.