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Frome employers have their say about apprenticeships

APPRENTICESHIPS are growing in popularity among both employers and young people according to figures released this week by the National Apprenticeship Service. Interest in taking on an apprentice has been good from local businesses.

In Frome, the town council is taking a close interest in this national trend and the fact that we are facing the same problem of demand outstripping available vacancies. To find out why this might be, the council recently issued a questionnaire about apprenticeships to Frome-based businesses.

80 responses were received, with many indicating an interest in the apprenticeship scheme. 1 in 5 Frome companies already has an apprentice working with them, but there is the potential for this number to increase in the next few years.

One lucky respondent, GuitarBitz – an online retailer – were the winners of a meal for two at La Strada.

GuitarBitz do not currently have an apprentice although owner Davin Kenwood said they would be interested to take one on, if the right person can be found.

“The main problem we face is that business is so good we don’t have time to train up a junior member of staff!” said Davin. “We need someone who can cope with the reality of the job here from day one”.

The survey results are currently being analysed and the town council will be making their recommendations in the next few weeks.

Councillor Toby Eliot, chair of Frome Town Council’s internal affairs committee said, “We’re really grateful that so many businesses have taken the time to respond to this survey and heartened by the results.

“I’m very confident that Frome Town Council, along with others in the town, will soon be in a position to enable more Frome-based apprentices. There is a real need for more diverse opportunities for young people in Frome and if local businesses can be helped to grow while providing those opportunities, then we should do everything we can to make that happen.”

The National Apprenticeship Service figures reveal a 24% increase in apprenticeship vacancies posted online on the apprenticeship vacancies website between August and October 2013 (academic year Q1 2013/14) compared to the same period the previous year. But with applications from would-be apprentices increasing by 43%, the Government is urging employers to create more apprenticeship positions in order to meet the demand.