Worcester MP Robin Walker today celebrated the success of the 10th annual National Apprenticeship Week. The week highlighted the success of apprenticeships over the last decade, celebrating the positive impact on individuals, businesses and the economy, with the theme ‘ladder of opportunity’.

On Friday 3rd March, to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2017 Robin visited Southco Manufacturing Ltd in Warndon to take part in a Question and Answer session with the company’s apprentices and to tour the site. The visit came after an invitation from Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year and Southco employee, Pippa Dressler-Pearson. Robin heard from Southco’s apprenticeship recruits about the different paths they had taken into their roles, and what their aspirations were for the future within the industry.

The week coincided with the news that the Worcestershire economy has achieved the highest growth in productivity in England. Between 2010 and 2015, the county’s productivity – indicating the effectiveness and efficiency of economic output – grew at an average rate of 3% a year, higher than any other English county.

The news was announced by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), a day after the Government allocated the county an additional £17.5 million from the New Local Growth Fund – including £4 million for Worcester’s own Further Education Engineering Campus.

Richard Pearman, General Manager Diversified Technology, Southco :

“On Friday 3rd March, we welcomed MP Robin Walker to Southco’s European Headquarters here in Worcester.”

“The purpose of the visit was to spend time with our apprentices for a Question and Answer session and a facility tour of the manufacturing site.”

“It was a great opportunity for our apprentices to share their own personal journeys to finding an apprenticeship as well as learning from Robin about the Government’s investment into the scheme now and in the future.”

“Through Southco’s support these individuals have been able to positively shape their future careers with an apprenticeship program that invests in talented school leavers.”

Mark Stansfeld, Chair of Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“It is fantastic to see that Worcestershire is setting the standard for productivity growth. This highlights the exceptional quality of workforce that our local companies benefit from as well as the high level of innovation that exists within the county’s businesses. We will continue to invest Growth Deal funds into key projects that will further boost local productivity, and continue the county’s development as an innovative, creative and dynamic economy.”

Commenting on the week’s announcements Robin said:

“The week provided a real showcase for the skills and talent available in World Class Worcestershire.”

“National Apprenticeship Week 2017 has been a great success, with record numbers of young people reaping the benefits of the skills training and long-term career prospects offered by apprenticeships. As a former Parliamentary Apprentice Champion, this is a cause I have long championed and will continue to do so. It was truly inspiring to hear the experiences and ambitions of Southco’s talented apprentices.”

“The news that the county has topped the productivity league table is yet another positive indication of the Government’s investment in business and infrastructure – this really sends out a message to the world that Worcester is ‘Open for Business.’ The Local Enterprise Partnership have worked tirelessly on many ambitious funding bids – yesterday’s announcement of £4 million in Further Education funding for the city will go even further to ensuring that our young people have the skills they need to get ahead in the job market.”

“This Government has demonstrated a commitment to creating an economy that works for everyone – I am glad to say that is very much in evidence here in Worcester.”


Notes to editors

For more details on National Apprenticeship Week 2017, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/national-apprenticeship-week-2017

For further details on Worcestershire’s productivity growth, please see: http://www.wlep.co.uk/worcestershire-best-country-productivity-growth/

For Robin’s statement on the allocation of funding for Worcester’s Further Education Engineering Campus, please see: https://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-celebrates-4-million-investment-in-engineering-campus-for-worcester/

For Robin’s previous statements on apprenticeships, please see: