Lewes MP Norman Baker visited three local businesses this week to show his support for apprenticeships.
He made a whistle-stop tour to Newman & Burtenshaw hair salon, Action in Rural Sussex and jewellers W.E Clark & Son – who all have links with Sussex Downs College through the apprenticeship scheme.
Mr Baker said: “Apprenticeships are great for businesses and great for the apprentice as they provide practical on the job experience which can translate into an excellent career. Indeed, apprentices earn on average £100,000 more over their working life.”
During his first visit, the MP met salon owners Shaun Newman and Adam Burtenshaw, who set up Newman & Burtenshaw in September 2012 after working as managers at Trevor Sorbie in Brighton. Starting off with just three staff, they’ve quickly increased this figure to eight - including apprentices Holly, 16, from Lewes, and Caitlin, 17, from Uckfield.
Norman heard how Holly began working as a Saturday girl for the burgeoning salon and will undertake her Hairdressing apprenticeship with Sussex Downs College from September. Caitlin began her Hairdressing apprenticeship with the College in April and both girls combine their studies with working at the salon.
Next on the agenda was a trip to Action in Rural Sussex, which promotes and supports the interests of rural communities. Here, the MP met Trevor Leggo, Director of the Sussex and Surrey Associations of Local Councils; and Keith Stevens, Chairman of both the Sussex Associations of Local Councils and of the East Sussex Strategic Partnership. The organisation employs Business Administration apprentice Carla Staden, 19, and Norman heard how she has thrived since commencing her training.
The MP concluded his tour with a visit to the Lewes branch of jewellers W.E. Clark & Son, to meet Managing Director and President of the Lewes Chamber of Commerce, David Clark. The jeweller employs 15 staff in total and hopes to work with Sussex Downs College to take on an apprentice for its Lewes store soon.
David said: “It’s key that young people are work-ready, have good interview skills and the willingness to work hard. Apprenticeships are great for getting that knowledge, that experience, those learning foundations. Our former apprentice in our Eastbourne store is absolutely great. As an employer, if you offer a good placement and good training, young people will really respond to that.”
Following his tour, Mr Baker said: “Today I have seen how employers in Lewes are setting a great example with apprenticeships up 116 per cent over the last couple of years. It was great to take the opportunity to visit some local businesses that have really embraced them, and are seeing the benefits.”
He added: “I was also very impressed with the attitude of the apprentices who are clearly embracing the opportunity as well. We need to build on that and that is why I launched the local jobs campaign and will be engaging with students and local businesses to see how we can give the same opportunity to yet more local young people.”