A TRAINING organisation which offers apprenticeships to young people has taken to the world of social media to try and encourage new applicants.
As previously reported in The News, companies in the Portsmouth area are struggling to attract apprentices to take their places.
Now Peta, based in North Harbour, has risen to the challenge to try and tackle the problem.
Peta director Bob Hiskey said: ‘We understand that we need to go to where young people are and with over 95 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds using Facebook we have embraced this as a way of getting closer to our learners, our partners, employers and the people who have an interest in apprenticeships more generally.
‘I’m confident that our new social media channels will make it easier for people to learn about our work and for young people in the area to hear about the opportunities that we have for them.
‘The day we launched we had a learner say to us on Facebook that he was really pleased that we were using Facebook to share our vacancies.’
That learner, Martin Stone, said: ‘I believe that Peta is doing a wonderful job with giving people the opportunity for apprenticeships.
‘I myself am personally looking into getting one also as I am out of work, but my options are limited for now.’
Meanwhile, Havant Borough Council’s deputy leader David Guest is spearheading an initiative to provide local jobs and apprenticeships.
Under rules for new housing and commercial developments, developers will be encouraged to employ local people and provide apprenticeships to young people.
Nationally, a YouGov poll carried out for The Edge – an organisation that promotes vocational qualifications – found that many students do not feel ‘actively encouraged’ to pursue the vocational route.
A third of the 500 students polled said it had never been presented as an option, while 77 per cent felt it had been actively discouraged.
Locally, figures revealed the number of young people out of work for a year or more in the city jumped from 20 in April 2011 to 115 in May 2012.
But despite that, Peta had 21 apprenticeship vacancies available in the Portsmouth area.
Peta’s Gavin Smith said: ‘With 16 to 24-year-old unemployment at an all-time high, we’re astonished by the drop in the number of people applying for these vacancies.’
To find out more about Peta’s apprenticeships, see facebook.com/pages/PETA-Apprenticeships/ or twitter.com/#!/PETA_Apprentice.