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Jake Berry’s ‘100’ campaign to get youngsters into work hits 200 mark
A CAMPAIGN to create 100 new apprenticeships in East Lancashire more than doubled its initial target.
Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry announced his second ‘100 in 100’ campaign had resulted in 203 young people finding work in the area at a closing celebration event at Darwen-based Crown Paints.
The event, launched in May at Rossendales in Helmshore, was the second of its kind run by Mr Berry, with 163 new apprenticeships found last time round.
At the event on Friday night, the MP explained why he had decided to launch the campaign.
He said: “Two years ago, just after the riots I spoke to the young people in Bacup and asked them why they had gone out and smashed the town up.
“They had no hope and believed the best days of the country were behind us.
“I don't believe that and that is what spurred me on and wondering how we could get people back into work here.
“We created 163 apprenticeships last year and that was not down to me, it was down to businesses in Darwen and Rossendale.”
Mr Berry said he had been somewhat surprised by the success of this year’s campaign.
He said: “We talked about the 100 concept when starting up the campaign. After doing so well last year, I had been doubtful we would get over the 100 mark.
“But we have gone past 200 apprenticeships, which I think we can all be really proud of.”
Since launching the campaign, Mr Berry has recruited his own apprentice.
Eighteen-year-old case worker Jess Huddleston, of Burns Walk, Darwen, has been working for the Tory MP for three months.
She said: “While I was about to sit my last exam at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy I decided to go down the route of an apprenticeship.
“After applying for the job I had two interviews, one with the people I was to work with and then one with Mr Berry and I had to do a test.
“I was really pleased when I got the job and since then no day has been the same.
“I would encourage anyone to be an apprentice as it is a fantastic opportunity. It has been more valuable than any degree.”
Guest speaker Ilyas Munshi, commercial director for Blackburn garage giant Euro Garages, said: “Within our business we have seen young people grab hold of the apprenticeship opportunity. It is all about raising aspirations. We are creating the management of the future. Apprentices are a fantastic way to grow as a person.”
Mr Berry plans to run another 100 in 100 campaign next year.
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