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2016 in 2016: The Bedford Borough Apprenticeships Challenge

January 20, 2014 9:20 AM

Dave Hodgson with Town Bridge behind

Following dramatic growth in the number of apprenticeship places provided in Bedford Borough in recent years, an ambitious challenge has been set following an Apprenticeships Summit convened by Mayor Dave Hodgson: 2016 in 2016. Mayor Dave brought together key employers, training and educaction providers at the summit, which achieved a shared commitment that Bedford borough would see at least 2016 apprenticeships created per year by 2016. challenging themselves and each other to deliver a further dramatic rise in annual apprenticeships in Bedford Borough, or '2016 in 2016'. With dramatic growth in apprentice numbers already having been achieved in recent years, the '2016 in 2016' target would represent a further increase of 50% against current figures.

The Apprenticeships Summit saw Mayor Dave bring together key local apprenticeship partners, inviting them to commit to an ambitious but achievable strategic target which will significantly increase opportunities for local residents, and in particular young people. Partners included Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business, Apprenticeship Ambassadors, Bedford College, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, Jobcentre Plus, the National Apprenticeship Service, schools and Bedford Borough Council.

The latest performance data reveals significant growth already in Apprenticeships locally. During 2012/13, Bedford Borough had 1,310 all-age apprenticeship starts, which is a 38% increase on the previous year and builds further on significant growth over recent years. Growth has particularly come from within the 19-24 year old age group and in 'Advanced Level' Apprenticeships. With significant local support and increasing interest from young people, there is considered to be great potential yet for further growth.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "The Apprenticeship Challenge represents an ambitious task, but we are ambitious about what we can achieve. The challenge is all about boosting apprenticeship opportunities locally, providing high quality career opportunities for our young people and adults, whilst supporting local business growth.'

"We are embarking on a fast-track programme which is dependent on senior level commitment from all partners, and I was delighted that the shared passion and drive we will need was evident in the room at the Apprenticeships Summit. With significant growth already achieved in recent years, the challenge is now set and we have a great opportunity to achieve even greater success in Apprenticeships within the Borough by 2016."

For further information on Apprenticeships in Bedford Borough, visit http://www.bedford.gov.uk/business/employment_and_skills/apprenticeships.aspx