North West becomes ‘Apprenticeship Capital’ of England

October 28th, 2013

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A Manchester-based childcare company is being praised for helping to make the North West the country’s leading region for apprenticeships.

 The latest government figures published last Friday 25 October show the economy grew by 0.8% between July and September, and the success of apprenticeship schemes is being highlighted as contributing to the upturn.

 Overall, unemployment in the North West has fallen over the past three years, including a 1.7% drop for the under 25s, with 3.2 million now employed in the region. A total of 249,860 people in the North West have also received apprenticeship training since 2010 – making up more than a sixth of all the apprentices in England.

 Kids Allowed has five childcare centres across Greater Manchester and Cheshire, which provide award-winning care for children aged between 0 and 10. The company was set up a decade ago by Chief Executive Jennie Johnson.

 Jennie said:

 “I left school at 16 and I’ve done alright for myself, so I strongly believe the apprenticeship scheme is a good way of giving teenagers the same chance to shine. When you’re that age you can really go as far as you want to – you just have to be given the opportunity.

 “We’ve signed up 16 new apprentices so far this year, who will all be able to gain NVQ qualifications in childcare. The great thing for us is that we get to mould our employees from the start, so they get qualifications that are fit for purpose and suit our needs.

 “The apprentices work slightly reduced hours so that they are able to take advantage of our in-house training academy where they learn from the best. The end result is having employees who love their job and really make a difference to children’s lives.

 “Too many business owners say young people don’t have the skills they need but they don’t do anything about it. Apprenticeships are a great way of overcoming those issues and providing teenagers with an aspirational job.

 “Generally, it’s been a challenging few years for us but we’ve continued to see the company grow, and we’re determined to provide a fantastic service.

 “There’s definitely a bit more of a buzz this year, and the apprentices have been part of that, so it feels like the economy’s getting better and we’re coming out the other end.”

 The North West is home to 480,515 private sector businesses and more than 1,000 start-up loans have been awarded at a total value of £6.2 million – the highest number of any English region. Almost 3,000 businesses are also working with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to export British-made products.

 More than 4,000 people have gained employment through the government’s Regional Growth Fund and the region’s four Enterprise Zones are also creating opportunities for future growth, with nearly 300 jobs created so far on top of the additional work for the construction industry.

 Steve Corcoran, Chair of the Confederation of British Industry in the North West and Chief Executive of Merseyside-based Speedy Hire Plc, said:

 “After many years of economic challenge, the North West economy is showing visible signs of recovery across a number of its markets.

 “The region is particularly well placed, with strength in depth, across a number of key manufacturing, business services and education sectors including automotive, aeronautical, nuclear and renewable energy.

 “This strong industrial base, well-developed financial and legal services sector, and strong presence in higher and university education positions the North West extremely well to benefit from the ongoing recovery.

 “Whilst there is still some way to go before we can state that a sustainable recovery is fully in place, investment and employment decisions – including apprenticeship schemes – give a positive and encouraging outlook.”


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State of the region at a glance


  • A total of 249,860 apprenticeships have been created since 2010 – more than anywhere else in England
  • Unemployment is falling, including drop of 1.7% for under 25s in the last three years
  • More than 4,000 have gained employment through the Regional Growth Fund


  • Highest number of Work Programme entrants in the country (170,650 between June 2011 and June 2013)
  • 235 academies opened in the past three years.
  • More than a third (35.4%) of 18-year-olds applied to go into Higher Education


  • The region is home to 480,515 private sector businesses
  • Highest number of start-up loans awarded in the country (more than 1,000) at a total value of £6.2 million
  • Almost 3,000 businesses are now working with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to trade internationally
  • Four Enterprise Zones in the North West are creating opportunities for future growth, with nearly 300 new jobs created so far not including the additional work for the construction industry

 Success stories

  • Bio-energy firm H2 Energy is to create 160 jobs in Liverpool with the creation of a manufacturing and innovation centre. It is one of only a few firms in the country specialising in anaerobic digestion – a bio-refining system which turns food and farm waste into energy.
  • Halewood-based Jaguar Land Rover UK has announced record September sales with retail figures up 13% compared with the same period last year.
  • Rolls Royce’s Barnoldswick site is set to benefit from a £6 billion deal with Japan Airlines for more than 30 new aeroplanes.

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