UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Apprentices Flying High at Yeovil Helicopter Firm

Press Release   •   Feb 09, 2010 10:42 GMT

Business Minister Pat McFadden is visiting AgustaWestland today to celebrate the helicopter manufacturer’s commitment to recruit apprentices.

On the final day of National Apprenticeship Week, the Minister will meet apprentices at the Yeovil based firm, which has trebled its apprenticeship intake in the past four years.

Major UK employers are expecting to hire thousands of apprentices in 2010 and the government is encouraging all businesses to take up the new Apprentice Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme offering a £2,500 grant for each 16 or 17-year-old apprentice taken on.

Business Minister Pat McFadden said: “Becoming an apprentice is a great way of learning a trade and I am pleased to see firms like AgustaWestland giving people the chance to gain vital skills and experience.

“In 1997 apprenticeships had dwindled as a route for people to gain new skills - today we have 239,900 starting Apprenticeships and businesses of all sizes are reaping the rewards of having a highly skilled workforce.”

Graham Cole, Managing Director of AgustaWestland said:

“AgustaWestland has always been a strong supporter of apprenticeships and continues to invest in these schemes as it knows today’s apprentices will be a great asset to the Company in the future.

“We are committed to developing young people’s talents and are very proud that our training schemes were recently awarded ‘Outstanding’ status following our first OFSTED inspection.”

A total of 27,700 people started apprenticeships in the South West in 2008/9 and more than half of the businesses surveyed in the region who employ apprentices said they had made a positive contribution during the recession.

Simon Waugh, Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, said:

“The time is absolutely right for businesses of all sizes to take on apprentices. Our research shows that firms who take on apprentices have been in great shape to face the downturn.

“Last year saw a seven per cent increase in apprentices; that’s 240,000 people freshly into the jobs market, with the determination to succeed. What continues to surprise me is the number of companies who still haven’t switched on to apprentices and the value they bring to businesses.”

Notes to editors

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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