15 Tower Hamlets apprenticeship posts attract 700 young applicants

An apprenticeship scheme offering training for 15 young people in fields like carpentry, plumbing and admin attracted more than 700 applicants.

Tower Hamlets Homes and contractor Mears, jointly running the scheme, were flooded with submissions for the posts, which last for at least a year.

Council chiefs are now being urged to offer up more positions to the area’s growing number of unemployed young people.

There are currently 3,400 people aged 18 to 24 claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Tower Hamlets - the highest number in London.

Of the 33 local authorities in the capital, only Tower Hamlets and Newham have more than 3,000 registered for the benefit, the latest government figures from August show.

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Jennifer Fear, chief executive of youth charity Step Forward, which works with 1,500 youngsters in the borough, welcomed the apprenticeship scheme and said she hoped more would follow.

She said: “Finding long-term sustainable jobs for young people is a problem and could get worse. One of the issues is that there are so many young people in Tower Hamlets – I think it’s the highest number in Western Europe.

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“The 700 applicants should make the council pleased that young people are interested in apprenticeships and should make them develop more.”

Along with training and mentoring, the successful applicants will also get driving lessons and grants towards work clothes as well as an NVQ qualification in their chosen field.

The apprenticeships also cover customer service, business administration, caretaking and electrics.

The influx of applications came after an open day about the scheme was held at York Hall on October 3.

Tower Hamlets Homes chief executive Gavin Cansfield said his firm is looking at opening up more posts to help young people get on the employment ladder.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said tackling unemployment is a “priority” for the council.

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