175 Years Supporting and Training Young People

Mar 13, 2013

rachel2Regeneration and construction company Emanuel Whittaker was established in 1837 and from the beginning, the founding fathers were keen to recruit young men to train as skilled tradesmen.  As a result, the company believe that since 1837 it has probably recruited and trained over 700 apprentices from its Oldham headquarters.

Last month, the Office for National Statistics revealed the biggest increase in youth unemployment since the start of 2012 which means 974,000 young people aged 16-24 are unemployed, up 11,000 on the previous quarter.  However, this figure would be considerably higher were it not for the growing popularity of apprenticeships. More than 500,000 people started an apprenticeship in the year from 2011 to 2012 – an increase of 14% – and while most businesses are only just starting to recognise their value, Emanuel Whittaker can boast 175 years experience of training and working with young people.

Clive Newton, Managing Director said: “We are fortunate to have retained many of the original records for the company and these show that even in its first year Emanuel Whittaker had four apprentices on its books.  It’s also fascinating to see that many of these remained with the company for a many years with several staying with us for the rest of their working life.”

Company records also show Emanuel Whittaker’s altruism elsewhere.  The company was determined to train and find employment for young men returning from the first and second world wars and developed a deliberate employment policy to recruit injured servicemen and teach them a trade.

Since the middle ages apprentices were a feature of many trades and how many there were often reflected the country’s economic success.  It was not until the 1900s that apprenticeships fell out of favour and this was largely due to the decline in manufacturing, although, there were still some companies like Emanuel Whittaker which continued to support the scheme.

Today Emanuel Whittaker continues its tradition of supporting, training and employing young men and in more recent years, women – to train as apprentices in the construction sector.

Director John Gallagher adds: “The 21st century Emanuel Whittaker apprenticeships scheme is run in close partnership with Oldham College and this year we celebrate over 10 years of working together to deliver a programme of modern apprenticeships, work opportunities and work experience.”

In that time a total of over 40 Oldham College students have successfully completed apprenticeships with the company, including many who have won apprenticeship awards.

Samantha Barnes, Recruitment Co-ordinator – Construction at Oldham College, says, “We are delighted to have such a strong partnership with Emanuel Whittaker.  The effort it puts in to supporting apprenticeships and the opportunities it provides for trainees is exemplary.”

National Apprenticeship Week 2013 celebrates the positive impact of apprenticeships on individuals, businesses and the economy, and recognises that this skills-based learning programme is a highly valued process that helps both young people earn a living and gain a skill and provides employers with access to a pool of talented new recruits.

John Gallagher continues:  “Our young people should be in work, training or education – not unemployed. As a keen advocate of the modern apprenticeship scheme we would urge many more companies to sign up to it.

“As a company that can proudly boast supporting 700 apprentices over 175 years – we feel more than qualified in saying that apprenticeships do work.  Do your bit for youth unemployment and find out more during this National Apprenticeship Week.”

For more information go to www.apprenticeships.org.uk or call 08000 150 600.

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