Way forward for apprenticeships

HERTFORDSHIRE is playing a leading role in a national project to expand the range of apprenticeships for 16 to 19-year-olds. The Apprenticeship Pathfinder Project has just been launched – and Hertfordshire is one of the three local authorities in England

HERTFORDSHIRE is playing a leading role in a national project to expand the range of apprenticeships for 16 to 19-year-olds.

The Apprenticeship Pathfinder Project has just been launched - and Hertfordshire is one of the three local authorities in England chosen to pioneer it.

The project brings together local authorities, central government and the new National Apprenticeship Service to make apprenticeships a top priority for young people - to help them gain skills and develop their confidence.

Part of a wider Local Wellbeing Project, the pathfinder is the result of a partnership between the Young Foundation, Lord Richard Layard of the London School of Economics and the Improvement and Development Agency.

Local authorities will soon be responsible for all 16-19 learning, and that includes significantly increasing the number of apprenticeships in the public and private sector available to young people in their area.

Hertfordshire is gaining a national reputation for its links with business and the education sector, with Youth Connexions Hertfordshire playing a leading role.

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"Being chosen to pioneer this project is recognition of the efforts we are making in Hertfordshire to create job opportunities for young people," said Richard Thake, county council executive member for education and skills.

"In the current economic climate it is vitally important that young people get every chance to develop their skills and expertise. Expanding the number of apprenticeships will create opportunities for them to get on the first rung of the career ladder. It's impressive that Hertfordshire is one of the first authorities to lead the way in this trailblazing project."

The Pathfinder Project was launched at a House of Lords reception hosted by Professor Lord Richard Layard.

Simon Waugh, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: "Apprenticeships, already a mainstream learning route for young people, are being grown by the National Apprenticeship Service with the aspiration that one in five of 16 to 18-year-olds take an apprenticeship by 2020. The Apprenticeship Pathfinder Project will help make this aspiration a reality.

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