Businesses sign up to apprenticeship scheme

Wayland businesses have started to sign up to an apprenticeship programme with a difference for budding entrepreneurs.

An information night for the scheme, organised by Norfolk social entrepreneur Robert Ashton, was held for sponsors, business owners and MP George Freeman on Friday, November 2.

The 18-month project is a partnership between Wayland Academy, who will provide the training venue and some skills training, City College Norwich who will deliver the apprenticeship in Watton and a yet to be named sponsor who will employ the teenagers.

'People running a small business or community organisation can now have an apprentice working full or half time', said Mr Ashton. 'The apprentices will be learning about how business is done, as well as picking up the practical skills relevant to the business they work in.'

It will be open to school leavers aged 16 to 18 in the Wayland area and will start in the new year.

Mr Freeman said: 'The government's apprenticeship programme has created 600,000 new apprenticeships in the last two years, but rural youth unemployment is a particular problem. Youngsters leaving school and college in rural Norfolk face particular challenges. With fewer jobs on offer from the big employers of yesteryear, and more from smaller micro-businesses, the challenge is to help youngsters access these opportunities.

'The Wayland Academy is doing great work to help equip our youngsters with the skills they'll need in the modern workplace, and I welcome this initiative to help them access work.'

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Julia Lumsden, who owns Retrorecyclers in Watton, which restores and sells vintage, antique and recycled household items, was the first business owner to sign up to the scheme. The information event was held at the Retrorecyclers warehouse.

Michael Rose, headteacher of Wayland Academy, said: 'Young people in our rural part of Norfolk deserve every opportunity to grow and succeed in life. The apprenticeship scheme we intend to pilot will enable young people to channel their creativity and innovative ideas into current businesses and hopefully lead in the future to them creating their own business, which will enrich and contribute to the fabric of employment in Norfolk.'

For more information about the apprenticeship call Mr Ashton on 01953 605000 or email