Belfast Telegraph

Duke reiterates call for businesses in UK to invest in our young

By Margaret Canning

The Duke of York – who recently launched the Belfast Telegraph's 50 Jobs in 50 Days apprenticeships campaign – has said businesses need to invest more in creating jobs for young people.

Prince Andrew visited the offices of the Belfast Telegraph at the outset of our campaign, where he met Northern Ireland's firms and their apprentices, and wished the newspaper well in its quest to encourage other firms to take on further apprentices.

Yesterday he shared the same message with a gathering in the West Midlands of newspaper editors from across the UK, hosted by the Society of Editors.

Prince Andrew said that newspaper editors had a role to play in encouraging businesses to start apprenticeship schemes.

He added that the education system had now largely become a degree-based system, instead of providing a variety of tailored routes.

The Prince acknowledged that he had a "personal interest" in apprenticeships as he had never gone to university.

He said: "Young people should have the opportunity to choose the route that is best for them.

"Many young people today feel that they are demotivated and they are not able to aspire to recognise that they are capable of achieving something more.

"It is not obligatory that you have to leave school and go to university.

"'The apprenticeship route is not the route to cheap labour – it is about gaining a skill."

The Belfast Telegraph's 50 Jobs in 50 Days Campaign is now entering its fourth week – and a broad range of firms has pledged to take on a total of 20 apprentices.

During his visit to the newspaper last month, Prince Andrew sent a strong message to businesses about the importance of giving young people a chance.

"I can guarantee you that most young people are not trying to avoid work," the Duke said.

Yesterday Flow Technology Services in Newtownabbey signed up to our campaign.

Contracts sales manager Gerard Ainsworth said the apprenticeship model was a new one for the company, but added: "We are keen to take in fresh new blood and train them up to scratch."

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