Ladder for the Black Country: George Osborne's joy at 500 jobs

George Osborne today said hundreds of unemployed youngsters now have a 'bright future' as the Express & Star-led Ladder for the Black Country campaign sailed through the 500 new apprenticeship mark.

Ladder for the Black Country: George Osborne's joy at 500 jobs

The Chancellor was visiting two of the apprentices to come through the scheme in Cradley Heath yesterday at master snooker and billiard cue makers B&W Billiards.

Mr Osborne met apprentice craftsman Richard Haney, aged 18, from Sedgley, and business administration apprentice Georgia Green. The Ladder for the Black Country has now created 557 jobs since its launch in September.

The Chancellor said: "A huge congratulations to the Express & Star and its partners on a powerful campaign.

George Osborne visits B&W Billiards, Cradley Heath

"The Ladder for the Black Country has clearly caught the imagination and the fact that over 500 apprenticeships has been created is great news for 500 young people who are looking forward to a bright future.

The Chancellor took to Twitter to share news of his visit:

"I am also delighted it has been expanded to Staffordshire and Shropshire so young people in those communities can share in its success. It is a great campaign and exactly what we want to see more of.

"What we want to see is more apprenticeships being offered. As a Government we have a target of three million by 2020.

"It is small family-run businesses like B&W Billiards that demonstrate the value apprentices can have and really help a business grow and prosper."

The Chancellor with Express & Star Deputy Editor Diane Davies

Mr Osborne also met some of those behind the Ladder for the Black Country, including Vine Trust chief executive Kevin Davis, training provider PTP director Gill Durkin, Express & Star deputy editor Diane Davies and Black Country Chamber of Commerce chief executive Margaret Corneby. So far 115 employers have hired apprentices through the Ladder for the Black Country.

B&W Billiards director Yvonne Westwood said: "As a small business, these apprentices have been vital to us and are helping us grow."

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