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With the launch of the first National Apprentice Week this month (25-29 February 2008) training provider, JTL, is actively encouraging parents to see the great potential for their children in taking up apprenticeships in the plumbing and electrical industries.

No longer considered the poor relation to the more traditional route of studying for A-Levels and university, apprenticeships present a real career option with a recently qualified electrician or plumber expecting to earn up to £36,000. This is in stark contrast to the number of graduates, many of whom, after spending four years studying for a degree, are out of work or earning a minimum wage with an average debt of £11,0002.

Trade careers are moving up the political agenda, as government proposals are set out to increase the number of apprenticeships being taken by 16-18 year olds to 90,000 by 2013.

Denis Hird, Chief Executive of JTL comments: “Vocational training should be recognised as a highly credible and successful career choice for many young people. Major projects, such as the 2012 Olympics, will increase the demand for skilled jobs and help to close the widening skills gap in the UK. The introduction of National Apprentice Week this month will serve to heighten the fact that vocational training provides valuable skills and a worthwhile route to entering professions that are in high demand and with good prospects.”

Predictions from the Blueprint for UK Construction Skills1 suggest there is a need for over 17,000 qualified electricians alone to enter the industry by 2011. To put this into perspective, JTL, which provides 80 per cent of the electrical industry's apprenticeship completions, currently releases 1,250 qualified electrical apprentices into the industry each year.

So with GCSE exams only months away and thoughts turning to which career path young students should take, JTL is urging parents to look at all the options and opportunities available to their children in skilled trades.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

1Construction Skills Network - Blueprint for UK Construction Skills (2007-2011)

The following are available for interview during National Apprentice Week:

Apprentice

· A-level chemistry and biology student, Elliott Sampat, was unsure about whether university would be right for him. He discussed his future options with his father, who suggested that Elliott should think about an apprenticeship that would lead to a trade career.

Elliott contacted training provider, JTL, and after passing the standard aptitude test, he set about looking for a firm that would employ him throughout his apprenticeship. London based electrical contractors T.Clarke, a firm well known for its investment in training apprentices offered Elliott a place and he began a combination of classroom theory and on-site work.

Now employed by T.Clarke as an engineer doing project management, Elliott is running large contracts from start to finish. He has just started work on a project in Fenchurch Street, where he will be overseeing up to 50 electricians and will be responsible for the entire project from commissioning to handing over to the client.

Employer

· Chris Bilclough, Newcastle

North East based contracting company, John N Dunn, currently employs 40 apprentices. John N Dunn was established in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1893 and was bought out by the Bilclough family who still own the company today. John N Dunn has a turnover of £23 million and over 250 employees, 40 of which are apprentices on the JTL Advanced Apprenticeship programme. Chris comments: “Apprenticeship training is really at the heart of the business and plays an important role in its growth. The plumbing industry is highly competitive and your staff can give you an important edge.”

JTL Support

· Diana Osborne, Nottingham

Diana Osborne is a JTL training officer. Her role is to provide ongoing support to JTL apprentices, throughout their studies. Diana started out as a craft apprentice so knows the crucial value of good support to help you succeed. Diana knew from the age of 10 that she wanted to be an electrician and remembers her parents’ alarm that at such a young age she knew that she wanted to go into a career in a traditionally male oriented industry. At 15 Diana began work experience with a local firm, where she went on to do a craft apprenticeship, learning skills such as welding and sheet metal work alongside 33 other apprentices, all of whom were male. She comments: “Times have really changed since then and a lot more women are now successfully working in the industry.”

Further case study examples throughout the UK are available for comment and interview upon request.

Background to JTL

JTL is the leading training provider to the building services engineering sector and offers Advanced Apprenticeships in electrical installation, plumbing, heating and ventilating and engineering maintenance.

The JTL apprenticeship schemes are open to young people between the ages of 16 and 24 and are an ideal entry route into the building services engineering sector. The Advanced Apprenticeship allows young people to: develop practical on-the-job experience, ‘earn as they learn’, and achieve a National Vocational Qualification at Level 3, a qualification highly regarded by industry and Government alike.

JTL is a local company with a national reach and operates in 10 regions across England and Wales: North West, North East, York & Humberside, Wales, West Midlands, East Midlands, East, London, South East and South West. Anyone interested in learning more about apprenticeships can log on to: www.jtltraining.com

For further information and all press enquiries please contact:

Sally Bowles or Emma Greig at JBA PR on 020 8875 5460
Email: sally.bowles@jbapr.com / emma.greig@jbapr.com

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