March 6th sees the start of the tenth National Apprenticeship Week. This brings together employers and apprentices from across the country to celebrate the success of apprenticeship programmes and highlight the range of available opportunities. Here in Hastings, over the course of the previous academic year, we saw over 230 new apprentice starts and over 190 in Rother.
Apprenticeships give our young adults the opportunity to learn and work whilst receiving a wage to support them through their studies. Hastings Borough Council is holding an event at The Source on 9 March to showcase to 16-24 year-olds local vacancies, and the support and advice that is available to them if they would like to pursue an apprenticeship.
The announcement on youth employment statistics for January 2017, that were published last week, are very encouraging as they show that the national 16-24 year-old claimant count is at its lowest level since 2005 and, in Hastings and Rye, it currently sits at 295 claimants, which is a 70.2 percent decrease on May 2010. As a Government, we are clear that we need to provide the best possible start to employment life for young adults and apprenticeships go a long way to help achieve this.
Just last week I spoke at the Rye Business Forum’s inaugural meeting at the Mermaid Inn in Rye. Congratulations to the organisers for a popular and well organised event.
Speaking at constituency events is vitally important for me as I get to understand a wide range of different views and it also gives me an opportunity to highlight my local campaigns for the forthcoming years.
After the event there were many questions relating to the concerns of businesses including that of the forthcoming business rates revaluation. I have made representations to the Secretary of State to ensure that those who are most affected are supported by the Government. I will of course keep concerned residents informed.
Businesses are the backbone of our local economy; they provide jobs for local people; they contribute substantially to our communities. And when the national economy is strong, we feel the benefits here in Hastings and Rye.
Making sure that local residents have access to employment has been a priority of mine since I was first elected in 2010. That is why I am hosting another Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair at Sussex Coast College in Hastings on Friday 29 September, my seventh as your Member of Parliament. Do keep an eye on my website for more information throughout the year here.
Amber Rudd MP