Council apprentices meet AM

01/12/2011

Simon Thomas AM meets apprentices at Plaid-led Caerphilly council

Caerphilly Council apprentices will describe their experiences when they meet Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas and leading local councillors.

Plaid Cymru-led Caerphilly Council is funding jobs for up to 150 apprentices and trainees over the next three years.

Mr Thomas, who is Plaid’s Education and Skills Spokesperson, will visit Caerphilly later today to listen to the apprentices’ experiences.

He said: "Education is not just about academic achievement. It should be about creating well-rounded, balanced individuals who know how they can contribute to society and what their responsibilities and entitlements as citizens are. The work on apprenticeships, such as that done by Caerphilly Council, and issues such as access to a 21st century National Library Service, are vital. Apprenticeships are playing an important role in developing skills required by employers, as well as placing people in the workplace.

"We are very aware of the critical issue of the total lack of opportunities for ever-growing numbers of our young people. It is becoming more acute by the day with rising unemployment. Plaid Cymru is particularly concerned about youth unemployment which is why we have called for the Welsh Government to introduce a stimulus for the economy as a matter of urgency. This Plaid-led council is showing what we can do in power by creating 150 new training places for youngsters in the Caerphilly area."

Plaid Councillor James Fussell said: "I am delighted that people outside Caerphilly are keen to see this exciting scheme, which helps provide local youngsters with the best chance of gaining employment for the future. The project has numerous benefits both in supporting those youngsters who are currently not in employment, education or training, but also to us as a council.

"With more than 30 per cent of our employees aged 50 and over, there is a risk that if we do not train people, we may become exposed to skill gaps in the future. We will significantly minimise this risk by ‘growing our own’ talent and creating career opportunities for local young people.

"As well as protecting our existing staff, we are confident that we can fund up to 150 apprentices and trainees over the next three years. We believe it is our duty to help the young people of our communities."

Caerphilly Council is using £485,000, originally set aside for salaries, to meet the cost of the scheme.