Call for more companies to take on apprentices

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A CALL has gone out for more companies to invest in training young apprentices ahead of National Apprenticeship Week in February.

About 83 per cent of manufacturers in Suffolk and Norfolk do not train apprentices while many firms are struggling to find a workforce with suitable skills.

Championing the call is Richard Bridgman, chairman of manufacturer Warren Services, in Thetford, who is also chairman of Semta-East of England.

This represents the engineering, automotive and electronics industry and aims to raise skills levels and ensure companies have the right people with the right skills.

Mr Bridgman, whose company has been taking apprentices for the past 15 years and which employs or has employed 20 per cent of its workforce as apprentices, said: “We are trying to get over to everybody there is a drastic shortage of skilled people in this area. We ourselves cannot get welders or fabricators of the quality we need.”

National Apprenticeship Week runs from February 6 to 10.

Mr Bridgman said: “We want companies who have apprentices to open their premises for the week to attract other companies thinking of having apprentices.”

West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds is also holding an open evening on Wednesday, February 8, from 6.30-8.30pm.

The college runs eight-week pathway to apprenticeship courses to help young people hone their CV and interviewing skills and also runs apprentice schemes with local employers.

To find out more about taking part in National Apprenticeship Week contact Richard on 07798 666280 or or go to