Express & Star

Ladder apprentice campaign rolls out over country

The Ladder apprenticeship campaign which has created more than 1,000 jobs in the Midlands is to be rolled out across England, it has been revealed.

HRH The Duke of York visited the Express & Star to launch the original ladder campaign and also became its patron

The roll-out of the drive was announced at the Apprenticeship for England Conference in Coventry this week and aims to create some 10,000 jobs.

It follows the huge success of the Ladder for the Black Country campaign launched in the Express & Star almost three years ago.

The campaign was launched as Wolverhampton recorded the highest youth unemployment in the country and followed a challenge by the Duke of York to 'find a local solution to a national problem'.

Responding to the challenge, the Express & Star teamed up with training provider Performance Through People (PTP), charity the Vine Trust, the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and with support by Walsall Council to launch the Ladder for the Black Country.

Prince Andrew came to the Express & Star offices in Wolverhampton to launch the campaign and agreed to be its patron.

The Ladder campaign is being rolled out over the whole country

So successful was the campaign that it was expanded into Staffordshire and also saw the launch of the Ladder for Shropshire.

Last year the Duke hosted a special event at St James's Palace to mark the success of the Ladder in smashing through the 1,000 apprenticeships barrier.

More than 100 apprentices plus representatives from the Express & Star and its partners attended the event last April, where Kevin Davis, chief executive of the Vine Trust, announced the creation of a new Ladder foundation, which he said would help the scheme to develop nationwide.

A Ladder for London campaign has also found apprenticeships for many hundreds of young people.

At the launch of Ladder for England this week Mr Davis said: "The ‘Ladder for England’ builds on previous regional newspaper campaigns in the Black Country, Shropshire, Staffordshire and London, which saw over 3,000 jobs created, asking employers and young people to step up to the opportunities that apprenticeships offer.’"

The conference gathered major employers and trainers from across the country, to hear the latest developments with the government’s apprenticeship levy.

Event sponsor, Susanna Lawson of Onefile, said: "As a pioneer in supporting the training of employees, I recognise the need for quality apprenticeships, is critical to the future prosperity of the economy, that’s why I was happy to support the campaign and join its national team.’

Similar to the Express & Star campaign, Ladder for England will work with regional newspapers to highlight the journeys of both employer and apprentice. Three titles from publisher Trinity Mirror have signed up to support the Ladder.

Neil Benson, Group Executive Editor at Trinity Mirror , said: "Our titles strive to be at the heart of their communities, so we are delighted to pledge our support to the Ladder campaign, which will help to build skills and employment in towns and cities that we serve across the UK."

Mr Davis is also chairman of the vocational Walsall Studio School which, with the Mercian Trust, will be launching the first Ladder School next year supporting young people in a practical pre-apprenticeship curriculum.