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Rail apprentices celebrated at Salford event

The event took place on Wednesday 5 March at Morson’s head office in Salford and was attended by members of the National Apprenticeship Service, skills providers and employers. The event was endorsed by ex-apprentice Sir Alex Ferguson who wrote to the apprentices to congratulate them on their achievements.

Morson has supported apprenticeship programmes for the past 30 years across various engineering sectors including rail, design and stress programmes. Its most recent project was to invest over &pound1million and work collaboratively with various national stakeholders to secure the safeguarding of over 200 rail apprenticeship programmes nationwide.  To date, over 75% of the people who successfully completed their apprenticeships have entered employment. Three of the apprentices attending the event spoke publically about their experiences and how their apprenticeship had helped them.

Ged Mason, CEO of Morson Group, stated: “Morson recognises the importance of apprenticeships and training for many years, and we are proud to be able to host an event that celebrates the hard work undertaken by trainers, skills providers, funding agencies and of course the apprentices themselves.

“Today was very much about recognising the place of apprenticeships in education, and especially for those in the engineering industry which currently faces a serious skills shortage across all sectors.

“It is important that the profile of apprenticeships is raised and we were encouraged by the excellent work of the National Apprenticeship Service, highlighted this week by the many hundreds of events taking place over the UK.”

In his letter to apprentices, Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Gaining an apprenticeship is a valuable tool and allows you to enter the world of work equipped with the skills and knowledge you need to progress in your chosen career.

“I started my working life as an apprentice in Glasgow, and it was a fantastic part of my life. Apprentices give you a workforce, a regeneration of skilled people in an industry that is in real need of talented young people.”

Hazel Blears, Labour MP for Salford and Eccles, said: “I am passionate about ensuring our young people have the chance of a bright future.

“Apprenticeships are a great way of doing that, giving people the opportunity to develop the skills and confidence they need to help them secure a job they enjoy.

“I have met so many talented young people in Salford who want to get on in life but just need that chance to show what they can do.

“Morson has a great track record in giving some of them that opportunity through its apprenticeships and the company also employed two young people from my Kids without Connections work experience scheme last year.

“I was delighted to hear it had been able to keep on over 200 apprentices after its takeover of Vital Rail, and I hope all will go on to fulfilling careers.”

John Myers, Head of Apprenticeships at the National Apprenticeship Service, said:  “It is always a great pleasure celebrating the achievements of the apprentices, some of whom are here today.

“It’s been very interesting to hear them speak about their experiences – what a difference it’s made to their life and how well they are now doing, indeed some of whom have now moved on to support apprentices themselves and for Morson and Vital to see the benefit that those apprentices can bring.”

The event is part of the seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week will takes place from 3-7 March 2014, with hundreds of events expected to take place across England.

The Week, which is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, is designed to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy. 

Every year the Week increases in popularity and National Apprenticeship Week 2013 was a phenomenal success, with more than 900 events and activities on offer.  These ranged from business events designed to encourage more employers to recruit apprentices, to interactive careers events aimed at potential apprentices. 

For 2014, supporters are being encouraged to organise events and activity around the theme “Great Apprenticeships” – showcasing how Apprenticeships are great for businesses, personal careers and creating opportunities for both employers and apprentices.

 A national calendar of events will be available on the website, so individuals can find out what is happening in their local area.

Attendees enjoyed hearing from a number of speakers, including Morson’s first ever apprentice, Steve Seddon, now Client Services Director at the company. Those who spoke also included Matt Leavis, a key figure in the organisation of training for Vital Human Resources, a subsidiary of Morson Group, and John Myers of the National Apprenticeship Service. The event was closed by Morson’s CEO, Ged Mason, who presented apprentices with a letter and signed book from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Key statistics:

-              85% of apprentices will stay in employment after finishing

-              Two-thirds (64% ) will stay with the same employer

-              A third (32% ) of all former apprentices received a promotion within 12 months of finishing

-              Of those in work, three quarters (75% ) reported taking on more responsibility in their                           roles

-              Employers think that qualified apprentices are 15% more employable than those with                        other qualifications.


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