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MP expresses delight as apprenticeship figures more than double

December 18, 2013 10:05 AM

Tim at GilkesLocal MP Tim Farron has said he is 'delighted' by new figures released by the Office of National Statistics which show that his campaign to boost apprenticeships in the South Lakes has paid off. Figures show that placements have more than doubled in our area.

The figures, to the year ending April 2013, show that in Westmorland and Lonsdale 760 placements were made available. The figures also show that 300 of those apprenticeships were given to people over the age of 25, 280 of the placements were given to people between 19-24, and a further 180 to people under 19.

10 of the apprenticeships were Higher Level Apprenticeships, which means that the person taking the apprenticeship has been awarded a degree level qualification.

In 2009/10 when Tim started his campaign only 370 apprenticeship places had been made available in the previous twelve months. This means we have seen a 105% increase in apprenticeships in our community.

The Lib-Dem run local committee of the county council have made this issue a major priority and set up a fund for apprenticeships in the South Lakes. The money is targeted at small and medium sized businesses, for young people not currently in employment or training. Small and medium sized businesses are given up to £2,500 to support them in training an apprentice.

Tim said: "Degrees are great, but they are not the only way to get on in life. Learning skills and developing experience in whatever way is good for you is far more important. Hearing that apprenticeships have doubled is fantastic news.

"I want to thank local businesses who have taken on an apprentice. It really makes a massive difference. More young people across the South Lakes than ever before now have the opportunity to benefit from a variety of apprenticeships. I want us to build on this success and do even more to help our local young people."

Ian Stewart, Liberal Democrat Cabinet Member for Organisational Change at Cumbria County Council added: "It's great the there has been a 35% reduction from 210 to 135 (Nov 2013) in young people in South Lakeland claiming Job Seekers Allowance. Part of the reason for this is that following Tim's urging, there are more apprenticeships being offered. But even 135, or 1.5% of 16-24 year olds needing to claim Job Seekers Allowance is 1.5% too many. We will continue to work to give the opportunities of employment, education and training to all young people in South Lakeland."