Property maintainence company, Unitas took on a wave of apprentices in 2018/19.

Upskilling remains central to the economic growth of Staffordshire as the county nears full employment…

Staffordshire County Council has indicated that supporting people to develop their skillset, in order to access higher value jobs, remains a priority for the region.

Recent figures show that the county continues to oversee near full employment, with statistics from January showing that people claiming out-of-work benefits in Staffordshire accounted for just 2.1% of the local population, lower than both the national average (2.9%) and the Midlands’ average (3.8%).

Working in partnership with the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and further education establishments from across Staffordshire, the County Council is assisting with an increase in apprenticeships. Over 2018/19, there were 7,300 new apprenticeship starts in the county – a 6% increase on 2017/18 – with a 13% increase on higher level apprenticeship, demonstrating an increase in higher level skills across Staffordshire.

Philip White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Learning and Employability said:

“It is good that we are continuing to see near full employment in the county, but our focus remains on ensuring people are able to access better skilled and higher paid jobs.

“The local enterprise partnership’s advanced manufacturing and engineering hub is doing some fantastic work in improving people’s skills in our main industry sectors and we jointly encourage businesses to take on more apprentices as a gateway to work.

Michelin operate the Michelin Apprenticeship Scheme.

“Apprentices play an important part in strengthening the Staffordshire economy. It is hugely encouraging that we have seen a big increase in higher apprenticeships. “They are available at a range of levels, from the equivalent of a foundation degree to a bachelor’s degree and even master’s degree level in some sectors.

“More of these specialised and highly-skilled apprenticeships are being offered each year, giving people the chance to continue professional development and fully realise their potential.”

The £1.2million JCB Academy - located in Rocester, Staffordshire - is a high-tech facility dedicated to training apprentices.