A North East cost management firm has launched a new apprenticeship scheme to create jobs for local people and develop the next generation of young talent.
Great Annual Savings Group (GAS) recently completed the first phase of a recruitment drive that will eventually see the firm swell its workforce to 150. As part of that drive, the Seaham-based company is creating vacancies for up to ten new apprentices to start work next month.
Each apprentice will embark on a three-year programme in a variety of disciplines including HR, IT, finance, business administration, customer service and sales.
The plan is for GAS to take on a new tranche of apprentices every year as the business grows. The scheme will create jobs for local people in an area which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Judith Bennison, Group HR Director at GAS, said: “We’re a firm supporter of apprenticeships and we want to help young people get a foot on the career ladder. Our scheme will provide opportunities across a wide range of disciplines and give apprentices a sound understanding of our business.
“We’re looking for committed people with a great work ethic and in return we’ll give them a brilliant working environment and a salary set well above market rates. The Government has pledged to increase the minimum wage for apprentices to £3.30 per hour from October but we believe that they should be paid more than this to give them a fairer deal.”
GAS is one of several North East firms to have launched an apprenticeship scheme. Sunderland automotive giant Nissan, Eaglescliffe car parts maker Nifco UK and Redcar IT specialist Tad Web Solutions have also created jobs for local people by running similar projects.
The GAS scheme comes after latest Government figures revealed the number of apprenticeship starts in the region fell by 1,300 in the last academic year – despite a string of high-profile business leaders backing this type of training.
Ms Bennison said: “If every business took on at least one apprentice it would help to create jobs, reduce unemployment and tackle skills gaps in certain industries. Apprentices can add genuine value to a business while learning their job and earning a wage.”
GAS helps businesses reduce their variable costs and save money in a range of areas including energy procurement, energy and water cost management, fire safety, telecoms and insurance. The business was launched by entrepreneur Bradley Groves in 2012.
Previously Mr Groves was a board member of Caudwell Group and helped build the telecommunications giant into a high-growth business and a major global employer. He also held a senior board level role at Blacks Leisure Group PLC.