Duke of York champions our scheme for young people
Prince Andrew is a vocal and long-standing advocate of apprenticeships, championing their role in getting youngsters into work and on a career path.
Today we can announce that the Duke of York has agreed to be patron of the Ladder for the Black Country campaign, which aims to create at least 500 new apprenticeships in our region.
His Royal Highness said both young people and business leaders should understand the value of apprenticeships.
"Young people should have the opportunity to choose the route that is best for them," he said.
"Many young people today feel that they are demotivated and they are not able to aspire to recognise that they are capable of achieving something more.
"The apprenticeship route is not the route to cheap labour — it is about gaining a skill."
He added: "Local media are in touch with what is going on and they know the right thing to do. I would commend their role in helping businesses to flourish.
"Young people need to understand as much as they possibly can about what are the pathways into the working world.
"The other part of this is to recognise what people are achieving in the world of apprenticeships."
The Prince was also the patron of the London Evening Standard's Ladder for London which launched in 2012 and created more than 1,000 apprenticeships in the capital.
He has also supported jobs drives in Leeds and Belfast.
And next week His Royal Highness will visit the Express & Star offices in Wolverhampton to meet apprentices from the Black Country and the leaders behind the the Ladder for the Black Country campaign.
"It's about trying to encourage young people to recognise that the apprenticeship route is a route which is going to give them the value they want from a job," the Duke said.
"But it's also about encouraging businesses to recognise they are going to have to recruit and train, which they have not had to do for a number of years.
"And actually the statistics show that once you have got a young person in as an apprentice they tend to prove their worth pretty quickly."
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