A recruitment firm received more than 30 applicants for an apprenticeship scheme in which just three places were available.
The high level of interest shows the demand for more apprenticeship programmes in across industry, according to Gary Dewhurst, managing director of Gap Personnel.
Speaking after his company had just received recognition from a prestigious industry body for its quality training, he said: “At Gap Personnel we are keen to be at the forefront of a resurgence in apprenticeship schemes for young people in Britain.”
The Apprentice Employers’ Badge is awarded to companies by the National Apprenticeship Service and is supported by the British Chamber of Commerce. It highlights the recipient company’s commitment to apprenticeships.
Gary said: “We are delighted to have acquired this badge. It recognises the work we do in this field.
“It is important that young people receive a standard of training that will successfully equip them for future careers. Apprenticeships have always been a key part of Britain’s industrial heritage and it is significant that during these difficult economic times more employers have begun to recognise their value in building up the workforce skills-base.”
Two recent school-leavers who agree are Lucy-Faye Roberts, 18, of Long Lane, Pentre Broughton, and Sarah Bellis, 17, of Falcon Road, Wrexham, who are on apprentice schemes at Gap Personnel headquarters based in Wrexham, North Wales.
Both are strong advocates of the scheme and would like to see more training programmes like their own rolled out across businesses nationwide.
Lucy, a former student of Ysgol St Joseph’s and then Yale College, Wrexham, said the scheme is teaching her valuable office skills.
She said: “I would recommend this scheme to others as I am really enjoying learning in different departments of the company whilst also being paid! So far I have been learning payroll skills, general administration, HR, and marketing.
“I think other businesses should bring back apprentice schemes, because young people will have more opportunities to learn whilst in the work place, and I think it is also a clear indication of the company’s commitment to its workforce.”
Sarah, a former student of Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Wrexham, was thrilled to hear she had obtained an apprenticeship place with Gap Personnel.
“I was looking for a career involving administrative skills and when I discovered Gap Personnel had an apprenticeship scheme which included that I just had to jump at the chance.
“I am already recommending apprenticeships to all my friends, I am enjoying learning so much. It has an advantage over college courses because it involves hands on experience, which many future employers will be looking for, plus we get paid.”
Lucy and Sarah hope to achieve NVQ certificates at levels two and three at the end of their apprenticeship courses.
Another Gap Personnel apprentice, Kirstie Bersford, 18, based in the Sheffield branch, also believes there is a need for more apprenticeship schemes across British industry and she considers herself lucky to have achieved her own apprenticeship place.
She said: “Apprenticeships open so many doors and give school leavers the opportunity to gain skills, build up their CVs and get hands on experience in different types of roles, as well as getting a recognised qualification.
“I would still be out of work if I have not obtained this apprenticeship place, but now I am learning skills such as communication, problem-solving, new technology, phone systems and general administrative work.”
As a holder of the Employers’ Badge, the Gap Personnel logo now appears among those of a handful other key British companies on a prestigious roll of honour on the National Apprenticeship Service website.
Headquartered in Wrexham, Gap Personnel has grown to achieve a £50m brand turnover and it now operates its services through a network of 30 branches throughout the UK in locations ranging from Glasgow to Newton Abbot, Devon.
In November, the company was ranked ninth in the industrial sector in the Recruitment International Awards, which recognise the best 250 recruitment companies in the UK.
In autumn 2009 it moved into newly-built premises at Unit 2, Yale Business Village, Wrexham Technology Park, Wrexham. The bigger offices accommodate the growing administrative and management operations of the firm, which was previously headquartered in Johnstown.