Iexpect it won’t come as any surprise if I tell you that Germany is just about the best place to live in Europe if you’re a young person looking for a job. According to official statistics, eight British youngsters out of every 100 struggle to get a job compared with five Germans
This is no accident. Germany has an apprenticeship system which caters for two-thirds of its young people. Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, takes on 2,000 apprentices each year and that’s only a third of the German car industry’s annual intake.
Across the country, 90 per cent of these young people can expect to find a full-time job when they have served their time.
Germany clearly proves that apprenticeships work. That’s one of the reasons Tameside Council is so keen on promoting them. We also back apprenticeships because those who start their adult life on the dole are more likely to earn lower wages and endure more spells of unemployment later in life. That’s because they lose out on chances to acquire skills and self-confidence in their formative years.
In Tameside, we are committed to having a quarter of our young people in apprenticeships by 2015 and I’m proud to say that Tameside has already managed it with one in five, which makes us the best-performing authority in the North West.
We want to help smaller companies take on apprentices and We work closely with the National Apprenticeship Service, businesses, schools and colleges to increase the number of apprenticeships available and to promote them as a career path.
At the skills summit in March, my colleague Cllr Gerald Cooney, the executive member for learning, skills and economic growth, challenged delegates to make sure all Tameside’s 16 to 24-year-olds are in education, training or work by 2020.
For our part, we are offering incentives for companies to take on apprentices. Employers can get grants of up to £15,000 subject to conditions. Separately, there is £2,275 for employers taking on someone aged 18-24 who is unemployed and has been claiming benefit for 26 to 39 weeks.
If you’re a business, or someone about to leave school, I would strongly encourage you to think about apprenticeships. You can find full details at www.tameside.gov.uk/jobs/apprenticeships