AN AMBITIOUS plan to create 1,000 apprenticeships in 1,000 days is off to a flying start after a commitment was made to create 250 opportunities for young people.

Brighton and Hove City Council has announced it will create 100 apprenticeships in 2016/17 and a further 150 in 2017/18.

The pledge was made at the launch of an initiative on Friday which aims to reverse the decline in apprenticeships in the city, which recently hit a five year low.

Made up of 30 leading businesses and organisations, the Employment Skills Task Force has been working on the issue and presented a series of recommendations to tackle the lack of opportunities for young people.

Other businesses that have pledged to create apprenticeships are The Grand Brighton, One Family, Coast to Capital LEP, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival,, Brighton Aldridge Community Academy and Sussex County Cricket Club.

Employers are also being asked you to sign a pledge of support to help local young people prepare for and enter the world of work, and create job and training opportunities.

Councillor Tom Bewick, chairman of the council’s children, young people and skills committee, said "I'm delighted that the business community has stepped up in this way. We can't create more apprenticeships without employers, so the fact a coalition of business and education leaders have come up with a practical plan for boosting skills opportunities in the city is fantastic news for young people and residents.”

Sussex cricket boss Zac Toumazi is heading up the taskforce as chairman.

It has called for a Youth and Employability Organisation to be established to make apprenticeship opportunities clearer and easier to navigate.

A closer working relationship between schools and businesses should be developed, with more engagement with parents.

Children should be engaged with at a younger age, before their GCSEs; while businesses will be urged to sign up to an Employer Pledge to create apprenticeship roles.

Large business and public sector organisations with more than 250 staff should lead by example by finding entry level jobs and traineeships.

To keep tabs on target over its long timescale, a high profile visual count will be displayed somewhere in the city.

The initiative incorporates the entire Greater Brighton region of Adur and Worthing, the Lewes district and Mid Sussex.

The initiative was launched on Friday at the end of National Apprenticeships Week.

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