Career success beckons for a Rochdale apprentice, who has just become the first to complete a special incentive scheme we've launched.
The scheme, which is believed to be the only one of its kind in the country, incentivises apprentices to progress to higher level training by giving both the apprentice and employer £1000 on completion of the programme.
Liam Aubrook, aged 25, is now the office manager at National Epilepsy Training, based at The Old Police Station (TOPS) in Heywood, after he completed a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management.
Liam's the first of 38 people to complete the apprenticeship
Liam, from Norden, is the first of 38 young people who are on the incentive scheme to complete his higher level studies through Apprenticeship provider KYP.
He said: "Offering £1000 at the end of the course is great idea. It can be tempting when you're studying to get a less skilled job which pays more in the short-term, but getting an extra bonus at the end is an extra incentive to stay the course and complete your studies. I'm going to use my money to buy a new bike to help get me around.
"I feel like I'm at the start of a really good career and I'm given a lot of support and responsibility here because we're a small team. The apprenticeship has given me a taste for learning, so I'm keen to do more studies to further develop my skills".
The scheme is being used in sectors where there is a skills gaps in Greater Manchester
As well as Leadership and Management, the money is also being used to encourage young people to step up to higher level programmes in sectors where Greater Manchester has a skills shortage, including advanced Engineering, Manufacturing, Logistics and Digital and Creative.
Councillor John Blundell, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: "It's great to see the results of this fantastic scheme starting to come through already. This has given Liam a head start in a great career in his home borough and I wish him every success.
"We're passionate about investing in our young people and giving them all the skills they need to get a great job without having to leave the borough. Supporting talented residents also boosts the local economy, which is good news for everybody".
The news comes soon after our apprenticeship team was announced as finalists for the North in the 'Macro Employer of the Year Award' in the National Apprenticeship Awards.
It also comes hot on the heels of their visit to Westminster at the invitation of the Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, Anne Milton, to celebrate best practice and outstanding achievement in the field of apprenticeships.
We started 135 Apprenticeship programmes last year and are one of only a handful of councils in the country to meet our national target of 2.3 per cent of our staff being apprentices.