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Julie has the White idea on apprentices

A Midlands businesswoman’s idea that could help more young people into work is being considered by a Government minister.

Julie White, the managing director of Warwickshire-based D-Drill, a diamond drilling, concrete sawing and demolition specialist, contacted the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills via her MP Mark Pawsey.

White has invested heavily in apprenticeships over the years to the point where 45 per cent of her workforce have come through the scheme and she has even put herself through the apprenticeship to find out what her staff learn on the scheme.

But when White was looking to recruit further personnel last year, she found a flaw in the system.

She said: “We are a very specialist industry so we have to invest in people and training.

“Not all apprentices in the construction industry go on to get a full-time job after they have been through a scheme with a construction company and, to my mind, those people would be ripe for a company such as D-Drill.

“They have shown they are willing to learn and that they want to be in construction but have not managed to secure permanent work at the end of the apprenticeship.

“I thought I would be able to contact those people and say to them that even though it didn’t work out with their previous company, there might be an opportunity to join D-Drill.

“It would be a great way to solve our need for new staff and also to help reduce the number of people who are unemployed – particularly young people.

“But when I asked for the names of some people who were in that position, I was told I couldn’t have them because of data protection issues. So, basically, I can’t make contact with somebody who wants a job to tell them there might be the chance of a good, full-time job with a good company, where we will train them and give them an opportunity to grow with the business! It seemed ludicrous to me.

“I spoke to my MP Mark Pawsey and he has been brilliant. Through him, we wrote the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and they have come back to say they are considering an idea I had about a national database of apprentices, which I think would help no end.”

In a letter, Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills, said: “I appreciate the suggestion of a national database of apprentices.

“The details on how this would be managed and resourced, and its feasibility in terms of practicality would, of course, need careful deliberation.

“It would also need consultation with employers and consent from apprentices. However, I consider this an innovative idea and have taken the opportunity to forward the suggestion to the National Apprenticeship Service for discussion on the possibility of taking forward such a scheme.”

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