Posted by British Gas in Community
As the economic recession rumbles on, the harsh reality is that UK unemployment is at its highest level for 15 years. As a result of this, one in four young adults (aged 16-24) in London is unemployed. Among black and Asian youths of the same age, this figure rises to one in two.
Research shows that a lack of work experience is the biggest obstacle to young people getting jobs and the ‘Ladder for London’ campaign aims to solve this problem.
Created by newspaper, Evening Standard, and supported by all the main political party leaders, the Ladder for London flagship campaign will provide a series of new opportunities for young Londoners in a bid to improve their skills and help them secure work.
British Gas is providing the single biggest investment of all the companies signed up to the scheme so far, committing over £1million to train 32 apprentices, one for each London Borough.
Some of the 32 apprentices taken on through the Ladder for London campaign will work at British Gas’ Dartford Academy, an Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’ training provider, where they will receive a free travel card and an hourly wage of £8.30. After 18 months of training, our apprentices become fully qualified engineers with a yearly salary of £29,000.
Bob Kerr, head of Health, Safety & Environment at British Gas is the perfect example of what apprentices can achieve.
Bob joined British Gas as a 16-year-old apprentice over 30 years ago and says of the scheme: “It was that crucial first step on the ladder towards what is now a great standard of living. Within a year, I realised that if I applied myself, British Gas would take care of me and that there was a career waiting for me if I wanted it. I earn a good salary, I’ve got a detached four-bedroom house, a car and a great pension.”
Bob’s 17-year-old son, John, is now hoping to achieve the same levels of success as his father and joined us last year as a Service and Repair apprentice.
Phil Bentley, Managing Director of British Gas says: “We have a lot of people like Bob. People who come to British Gas, stay, grow with the company, gain skills and then pass them on to the younger generation. We put £30,000 into training each and every apprentice and its worth it — because 96 per cent of our trainees complete our apprenticeships, and 90 per cent of those who complete it are still with us five years later.
It’s a shame a lot of other companies have stopped hiring apprentices, but we have persisted because we believe in the principle and we have never been disappointed.”
Although we are investing £1 million into the Ladder for London apprenticeships, this is not a new area for British Gas. We have a 200-year history of investing in jobs and skills in communities across the UK and remain one of the largest apprenticeship providers in the UK. In 2011, we invested £25 million into our academies and currently have over 1,100 apprenticeships in the UK.
Other companies involved in the scheme are Goldman Sachs, Pret a Manger and the University of East London, who will be providing between 10 and 12 apprenticeships. For more information on the Evening Standard’s Ladder for London campaign, click here.