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MP wins promise to help south lakes businesses take on local apprentices

April 30, 2009 12:27 PM

Rural businesses are struggling to take advantage of apprenticeships according to South Lakes MP Tim Farron, who today called on the Government to increase funding for rural businesses to allow them to recruit more apprentices to help businesses survive the recession.

A recent business survey conducted by Mr Farron revealed that many small businesses have experienced difficulties in acquiring skilled staff, but that most had in fact not considered taking on an apprentice. Speaking today in the House of Commons, Mr Farron highlighted the success of the University of Cumbria's farm apprenticeship scheme, which experienced a 40% increase in recruitment in one year, as evidence of the potential for apprenticeships in South Lakeland.

Mr Farron received a promise from the Secretary of State, John Denham MP that more support would be made available to rural businesses through the Group Training Scheme which would allow small businesses to co-ordinate their resources to help them recruit apprentices.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"During the Easter week I visited over 300 businesses across South Lakeland and found that although many had experienced real difficulties recruiting skilled staff, almost none of them had been able to take on an apprentice.

"The success of the University of Cumbria's farm apprenticeship scheme shows that there is a demand for apprenticeships in our area, but in this economic climate small businesses often don't have the time or the resources needed to engage in the apprenticeship scheme. It's therefore important that the Government provide them with the necessary support and resources to do so.

"Following today's promise by the Minister, I am asking the new National Apprenticeship Service to come to South Lakeland and join with me and the local chamber of commerce to give South Lakes businesses the chance to join the Group Training Scheme to enable them to take on apprenticeships."