A £900,000 project in North West Wales will take on seventy apprentices in the engineering and construction sectors.
Bangor’s Coleg Menai runs an apprentice agency for the Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy areas and is preparing to take an additional forty engineering apprentices and thirty recruits in construction. Coleg Menai advocate that
‘the advantage of apprenticeships is that you can continue earning while you are gaining valuable knowledge and skills to give your career a big boost.’
They currently offer eight apprenticeship routes in areas such as creative media and hairdressing and beauty as well as the construction and engineering routes.
This investment comes following Coleg Menai’s merger with fellow learning institutes Coleg Llandrillo and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor and at a time when, as recently published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), Welsh unemployment is down by 7,000 between April and June compared to the last quarter, bringing the total unemployment in Wales to a total of 126,000.
Business Minister Edwina Hart states that,
‘There are a number of substantial renewable energy investments under way in north Wales as well as many potential projects in the pipeline, including a possible new nuclear station at Wylfa (Anglesey) that offer a range of new employment opportunities… It is vital we have people with the right skills to take advantage of these opportunities as they arise and Grwp Llandrillo Menai’s initiative offers young people a real chance to gain the necessary qualifications to go for these jobs.”
The investment has been gratefully received at Coleg Menai; Principal Dafydd Evans said confirmation of funding was ‘excellent news for the region’.
The notion of the scheme itself being in two-parts with the intention to connect trained apprenticeships directly with work schemes suggests that the region may see further growth, falls in unemployment and development over the next five years. Perhaps it is a concept that the coalition should consider implementing across a wider geographical base as it could increase the confidence the youth have in future employment opportunities, lower the current level of youth unemployment and ensure that in two years time, those leaving education with the qualifications gained through the apprenticeship would have employment waiting. Such a guarantee would boost morale amongst the youth as employment is not something that many in all levels of education are confident they will be able to acquire.
It will be interesting to see how the scheme is embraced and whether any similar initiatives are established in the near future.
For further information about Coleg Menai and the opportunities they offer, visit their website at http://www.menai.ac.uk/LincMenai/Default.aspx
16th August 2012