The country marks National Apprentice Week next week (March 11/15), promoted by the National Apprenticeship Service which is hoping to build on the 800 events held in 2012.
Grants are also available to small to medium-sized firms employing their first apprentice to help encourage more to employers to consider them as an option.
Managing director and Knaresborough-based design and manufacturing firm GSPK Design Ltd, Mr Marsh admits he’s a recent convert – and largely thanks to the persistence and dedication of one young man who was adamant he deserved a chance.
Mr Marsh said: When Tom Edwards first approached us about an apprenticeship, I have to admit I almost turned him down flat,” said Mr Marsh. “We weren’t recruiting at the time and I was busy so I hadn’t had chance to reply when his second letter arrived a few days later.
That impressed me so I decided I’d give him a chance, have a chat and maybe point him in the right direction – but his enthusiasm and determination on the phone prompted me to think again.
We got Tom in for a proper interview and, after a chat with his college and the apprenticeship assessor, we agreed to give it a try – and I have to say it’s a decision we’ve not regretted.
Tom’s enthusiasm and willingness to learn is infectious and he’s proved to be a real asset. I’ve learned the value of apprenticeships and I would certainly encourage other employers to at least consider them as an option if they’re looking to expand their workforce.
Mr Marsh also leads the North Yorkshire board of Young Enterprise, a national charity which works with schools to give young people a taste of the cut and thrust of the business world – and a chance to set up and run their own companies under the wing of a real entrepreneur from the local business community.
Schools taking part in this year’s Young Enterprise Young Innovation Awards – sponsored by HSBC – come from Skipton, Harrogate, York, Knaresborough, Northallerton, Selby, Ripon and Malton.
Mr Marsh added:
People leaving school this summer are likely to be the entrepreneurs and business leaders who take this country out of recession in years to come so the more experience we can pass on the better,” said Mr Marsh.
Young Enterprise and apprenticeships are just two ways of achieving that and I would certainly urge Yorkshire business to do everything they can to support them.