PM praise for publisher exceeding apprenticeships target

A publisher is celebrating after its drive to boost apprenticeship numbers across its newspapers’ patches surpassed its 1,000 target, winning acclaim from Prime Minister David Cameron.

Midland News Association (MNA) started the Ladder for the Black Country campaign 18 months ago through its Express and Star newspaper, and 780 apprenticeships have been created across the region as a result.

The success of the campaign prompted the Wolverhampton newspaper to launch of the Ladder for Staffordshire, kick-starting the careers of 193 apprentices.

Sister daily, the Shropshire Star, followed up by starting its own Ladder for Shropshire drive, which also created 193 apprenticeships.


All-round success

This brought the total number of apprentices across the region to 1,166, with more than 200 companies having been involved with the scheme.

Prime Minister David Cameron has congratulated MNA on the success of the campaign, highlighting the “fantastic opportunities” it has provided for local youngsters.

He said: “I’m delighted that the Ladder for the Black Country is proving so successful. It’s great news for more than 1,000 young people who have signed up and are looking forward to a bright future, and for the hundreds of businesses which are benefiting from fresh talent.

“The popularity of these schemes reflects the fantastic opportunities that apprenticeships afford.

“Apprenticeships are absolutely essential in providing the skills and training required for our young people to compete with the best the rest of the world has to offer.”

Express and Star editor, Keith Harrison, added: “It is absolutely fantastic. Credit must go to the companies which have taken on young people and shown belief in them and their skills to give them life changing opportunities.”