Duke of York at the Leeds City region LEP conference

Member Article

Duke of York scheme to encourage businesses to take on apprentices launched

Small and medium sized businesses across Leeds City Region have been urged to take on an apprentice, as part of a new campaign officially launched by His Royal Highness The Duke of York KG.

The Duke unveiled the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Apprenticeship Challenge during his speech to 200 SMEs attending a conference at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, West Yorkshire, on Tuesday March 4th.

His Royal Highness said that young people cannot gain experience and work skills if businesses are not prepared to offer that opportunity in the first place, and challenged employers to take on an apprentice.

His Royal Highness acknowledged there are risks for businesses but said that the support being offered across Leeds City Region is helping to mitigate those.

The Duke said: “An apprenticeship is the start of the beginning of a career. I hope that the Leeds City Region Challenge can be fulfilled and that the momentum that has already started will continue.”

Employers were urged to sign pledge cards showing their commitment to find out more about the campaign which aims to secure at least 1,000 SMEs offering apprenticeships from April 2014 to March 2015.

Roger Marsh, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are delighted the Duke of York acknowledged the hard work of all our partners in providing the opportunities our young people need to build a career for the future.

“The LEP is committed to maintaining this momentum. We will work with businesses to step up to the Apprenticeship Challenge and offer our young people the opportunities they need to develop their skills and gain vital work experience.”

Ian Billyard, Principal of Leeds College of Building, said: “We are delighted that His Royal Highness could join us. The Duke has a passion for apprenticeships and the construction and engineering sector, and that clearly showed when he was speaking with our apprentices, students and staff.”

Peter Roberts, Chief Executive and Principal of Leeds City College, said: “It was a great honour that The Duke of York was able to spend time with some of our apprentices from a broad range of sectors.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Clare Burnett .

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