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Norfolk apprenticeships rise for 4th quarter this year

Norfolk County Council, 29 November 2022 00:00

More and more people are electing to take up an apprenticeship in Norfolk. The results for 2021/22 have seen an increase in the number of people who start an apprenticeship, figures which had been in decline since 2016. Many employers who are new to apprenticeships are unaware that apprenticeships are not just for school leavers aged under 19, and that there are also apprenticeships opportunities for all ages, including for existing employees who may be looking at upskilling current staff.

Across England, new apprenticeship starts were up by 8.6% compared with 2020/21, whilst in Norfolk new starts were up by 17.7%, demonstrating the impact of work which organisations in Norfolk are doing in helping to buck the wider trend.

One of the areas with the largest increase compared with the same period last year was in Information and Communication Technology apprenticeships, which saw a 90% increase of people taking up an apprenticeship compared to 2020/21.

Cllr Graham Plant, cabinet member for growing the economy, said: "Being or hiring an apprentice can be so rewarding for both parties - it's a great way to expand your business while also passing knowledge on. There are so many different types of apprenticeship to explore, from agriculture to the arts, and engineering to tourism. These qualifications are offered at different levels: intermediate, advanced, and higher, so there is bound to be something for everyone on offer.

"Apprenticeships aren't just for young people, with almost half of apprentices this year being over the age of 25. Not only does it help the individuals on the course, but it helps to expand the Norfolk economy by creating jobs and enabling companies to grow to meet the demand of the future."

Apprenticeships Norfolk, a free and impartial service run by Norfolk County Council, offers a wide range of support for both apprentices and companies looking to take on an apprentice, including information and guidance, as well as financial support. The Access to Apprenticeships grant, which is funded through the European Regional Development Fund, offers businesses up to £500 to enable them to overcome barriers to hiring an apprentice. The grant can be used for a variety of things, such as providing travel expenses, or the technology required by an apprentice to complete their studies, or for purchasing specialist equipment which would be needed, but can present a barrier to companies thinking of hiring an apprentice.

One company who was awarded the grant was BH Trees, a tree surgery company based in Norwich. They hired a female apprentice in a typically male dominated industry, which presented a challenge for them as a lot of standard safety equipment is designed for men. This equipment would be ill-fitting, and she would have had to share it, but the Access to Apprenticeships grant enabled the company to purchase equipment specifically designed for females.

Ben Hogben, from BH Trees, said: "We used the Access to Apprenticeship grant to purchase a tree climbing harness designed for arborists and for the female shape. I found the application for Access to Apprenticeships grant very straightforward - it was a single sheet to complete.

"I would urge other businesses to take advantage of the grant, it's available to fund a huge range of equipment. It's certainly made a difference to our business, and it's certainly made a difference to our apprentice."

Apprenticeships Norfolk has been running the #MadeInNorfolk campaign, aimed at encouraging businesses to take on an apprentice or to upskill an existing staff member using an apprenticeship. The campaigns success was recently recognised at the regional Chartered Institute of Public Relations awards, winning both the Best Low Budget campaign and the Best Public Sector campaign categories. The campaign was also highly commended at the national Annual Apprenticeship Conference awards.

For more information about starting an apprenticeship, or if you are a company looking to take on an apprentice, visit and to learn more about the Access to Apprenticeships grant, visit

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:44

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