Barking and Dagenham celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

Plastering apprentice Danny Livings, 19.

Plastering apprentice Danny Livings, 19. - Credit: Archant

What do Sir Alex Ferguson, Eric Clapton and Michael Caine all have in common?

Plastering apprentice Danny Livings, 19.

Plastering apprentice Danny Livings, 19. - Credit: Archant

Believe it or not, they all started out their careers as apprentices, learning a trade on the job.

The number of new apprentice starts across the parliamentary constituencies of Barking and Dagenham and Rainham dropped by 140 between 2012/13 and 2013/14, with 1,970 enrolling over the last financial year.

That drop corresponds with England-wide figures with 70,000 fewer people across the country starting an apprenticeship over the same period.

In a bid to address the drop, the eighth National Apprentice Week starts today, with hundreds of events across the country highlighting the importance of the apprentices on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Plastering apprentice Danny Livings, 19.

Plastering apprentice Danny Livings, 19. - Credit: Archant


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Among those championing the cause is Barking and Dagenham College.

One of the capital’s largest providers of apprenticeship training, the college trains over 860 apprentices each year, employing 30 on campus.

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lastering apprentice Danny Livings, 18, of Gorsebrook Road, Dagenham has been working four days a week with Oakleafe Property Services Ltd since December.

Currently in his second year of college study, the former Jo Richardson pupil has already worked on 20 houses and enjoys the freedom of his work.

Plastering apprentice Danny Livings, 19.

Plastering apprentice Danny Livings, 19. - Credit: Archant

“I’d much rather be doing this than stuck in an office, here you can physically see your work.

“It’s nice to be learning skills that I can use in my own house at some point as well.”

One-time apprentice Robert Tye, business development director of Choice Training, in Wantz Road, Dagenham, believes the problem lies with the employers.

“Large companies prefer disposable staff,” he said. “Often they’d rather subcontract work out, rather than invest in full-time staff.

“With smaller companies, a lot of it is down to ignorance. Many small company owners don’t realise the advantages of taking on apprentices.”

Are you an apprentice, or an employer?

What do you think of apprenticeships?

Email mark.shales@archant.co.uk or call 020 8477 3824.

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