Thousands of new apprenticeships at Cheltenham engineering firm
ONE of Gloucestershire's largest employers has been chosen for a pioneering scheme to create thousands of new apprenticeships.
Engineering firm GE Aviation, based in Bishop's Cleeve, has agreed to plough thousands of pounds into the Government scheme. It could see hundreds of young people across the county being taken on as trainees at the company.
GE Engineering was one of 34 major businesses to successfully bid for the Government's vocational training programmes.
Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the first round winners, who will be taking part in the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP), on Tuesday. Other companies selected include Siemens and Nissan.
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All of the businesses will receive a share of a £67million pot of Government cash which they will match, giving a combined investment of £98million into training.
Government chiefs hope the scheme will create life-changing opportunities for thousands of young people.
The pilot aims to develop more innovative, effective and sustainable ways of improving skills in the workforce, which in turn could help the industry develop and grow.
Alan Jones, executive site leader at GE Aviation, said the company would be working with schools.
He added: "We are constantly seeking new opportunities for our employees to develop both within the work and personal environment.
"GE work with school children in business engineering and operations-related topics as well as offering opportunities for apprenticeships and with this funding we will be able to continue this work with the support of the Employer Ownership of skills funding."
GE Aviation is the world's leading producer of large and small jet engines for commercial and military aircraft.
The company, which has been part of the Echo's Apprenticeship Challenge, currently employs 60 apprentices.
The first round of the pilot co-investment is expected to create 11,000 apprenticeships, including 4,400 for 16 to 18-year-olds across the UK.
It will also create as many as 27,000 full-time equivalent non-apprenticeship vocational training opportunities.
The announcement was made as part of the Government's Industrial Strategy.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This fund underlines our commitment to strengthening the economy and making sure that the UK workforce has the skills that businesses need."