‘Apprenticeships should be some people’s first choice’ says Northampton MP at fair today

Northampton North MP Michael Ellis and skills minister Nick Boles outside the Royal and Derngate today.

Northampton North MP Michael Ellis and skills minister Nick Boles outside the Royal and Derngate today.

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Hundreds of teenagers are expected to take up paid training with firms in Northampton today as part of an apprenticeship fair in town.

Around 35 businesses, including chemists Boots and Northampton based Church’s Shoes, have taken stalls at the Royal and Derngate today in a bid to take on fresh new talent.

The fair, organised by Northampton North MP Michael Ellis and the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, will also see talks given by skills minister Nick Boles and education secretary Nicky Morgan, making her second trip to the town in as many days.

Mr Ellis said: “What I wanted to do was to encourage young people to consider all their options.

“For many people university is not the answer.

“Apprenticeships should be some people’s first choice.

“There are some very successful people who started out as apprentices.”

Pupils from 11 schools in the Northampton North area are expected to attend the event today.

Nationally the Government aims to see three million apprenticeships taken on by 2020.

Skills minister Mr Boles said it is important young people begin considering paid training as an option from as early as secondary school.

He said: “lots of people learn best by combining theory and practice and by combining that theory at work.

“This is about making sure everybody has the same opportunities to progress.”

Simon Hill of Church’s Shoes, said apprentices are beneficial to the businesses themselves.

He said: “For our industry we need two things. We need youth and we need growth. People are retiring and older people are leaving the industry.”

“But we need to hand those skills onto the next generation.

“This then gives younger people a career and it gives them a liveable wage while they learn.”