Boris' 100,000 apprentices campaign passes halfway mark

Boris Johnson’s push to create 100,000 apprenticeships in London before the end of 2012 has passed the halfway mark, it has been announced.

Some 54,470 apprenticeships have now been created in the capital since July 2010, the mayor of London said. Johnson revealed the progress his campaign, run jointly with the National Apprenticeship Service, had been making as National Apprenticeship Week continued.

Shopping centre giant Westfield boosted the mayor’s campaign by revealing it would support the creation of 200 apprenticeships at its Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City facilities.

Young people can get experience in areas such as facilities management, customer service and retail through the schemes, which will be delivered by The Skills Place and Work Zone, the on-site skills academies.

Westfield Europe and New Markets managing director Michael Gutman said: “There are many career pathways and opportunities within Westfield and we are delighted to support the mayor’s apprenticeships programme as we announce our ambition to see 200 apprenticeships created across our Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City centres during 2012.

“This specialised training provides apprentices with an excellent, income-earning route to gaining important skills and qualifications as well as benefiting the end-users who hire them.”

Johnson has urged companies to take on more young people in the capital as apprentices because they can help boost their bottom line and improve employment opportunities.

The mayor said: “There are thousands of enthusiastic young Londoners who are crying out for the opportunity to become apprentices and we must help them to realise their ambitions. We have had huge success with our campaign so far, but we have to work harder to convince more businesses about why apprentices are such fantastic assets to invest in.

“A motivated and skilled workforce is essential for the economy’s health and by opening up their doors to apprentices London’s firms can play their part in helping to beat the downturn.”

Transport for London (TfL) has offered 2,209 apprenticeships since April 2009 and should meet its goal of 2,550 roles by the end of the financial year, said Johnson.

Crossrail has also announced plans to take on more apprentices, with 14 set to start work at its Old Oak Common concrete factory.

Last week, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) started a campaign to encourage businesses in the capital to take on apprentices. The 100 Apprenticeships in 100 Days campaign aims to help companies develop skills for the future.

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