Rise in Thames Valley Apprenticeships

More young people in the Thames Valley are taking up trainee positions.

Early figures show more than ten thousand young people took up an apprenticeship in the academic year 2010/11, up a quarter on the previous year.

The provisional statistics from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills show a big rise in most areas - with the numbers of places in areas like Reading East almost doubling to 780. In Oxford East they went up from 350 to 600.

Daniel Moss is an engineering apprentice at Reading Buses. 

Daniel Moss - Apprentice at Reading Transport

As well as all the practical training, he has to spend some weeks at college during the three year training before a final year working more independently.

He's told Heart an apprenticeship is a good way into the industry.

"It's the best way, I think the only way really is learning on the job, you learn a lot quicker and a lot better."

James Freeman is the Chief Executive at Reading Buses. They took on two trainees this academic year and hope to take on more in the next.

He says it's the most effective way of getting skilled people in their industry.

"What we're hoping is from apprentices we will develop the next generation, not just of technicians, but also leaders and managers within the business because people who are in charge of those sorts of areas of the business need to have that technical base - need to know how it's done.

"So it's quite conceivable that someone who starts as Dan(Daniel Moss) here ends up running a business in about ten years' time."

Research released at the end of last year shows there is a north/south divide when it comes to taking up apprenticeships.

The Association of Accounting Technicians found young people in the north are 70 percent more likely to enroll than those in the south.

But Wokingham bucked the trend by coming top of their list with 1 in 7 16-24-year-olds in the area taking up a trainee position in the 2009/10 financial year.

The most recent stats from central government show the borough still leads the number of positions in the Thames Valley with 2,230 apprentices. The council says this is because so many get placements at Arborfield Garrison.