MP visits centre to discuss value of apprenticeships

TWO apprentices showed an MP exactly what's involved in their training in a visit organised to promote the schemes.

Monday, 13th August 2018, 2:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 3:22 am
Jez Smith, Aura Gas; Frankie Small, Aura Gas Apprentice; Gary Robinson, MD Aura Gas; Alan Mak MP; Steve Willis, MD Steve Willis Training; Billy Simmonds, Aura Gas Apprentice, visiting Steve Willis Training Centre in Portchester.

Havant MP Alan Mak visited the Steve Willis Centre in Portchester to see their work first hand, as figures show the area as a national leader in new apprenticeship starts.

Mr Mak met Gary Robinson, managing director of Havant-based heating company Aura Gas, and two gas apprentices currently training at the centre where they spend a day a week learning and then working the rest of the week.

He watched a gas training class which saw the new recruits service boilers. 

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Mr Mak spoke to apprentices Billy Simmonds, 17, and Frankie Small, 20, both from Leigh Park. 

They told the MP about why they chose to start their careers in the gas industry with an apprenticeship, and how they are enjoying their training.

Both left school at 16 and decided the ability to learn and earn while gaining on-the-job training was better than going to university.

The government has set a target of three million more apprenticeships by 2020, with Mr Mak keen to find out how they are helping people locally. In the Havant parliamentary constituency, last year just under 900 people started apprenticeships, placing it strongly against national competitors.

Mr Mak said: '˜Our area has a proud tradition of engineering excellence and I'm delighted a new generation of apprentices like Billy and Frankie are strengthening our reputation as a national centre of excellence.

'˜A strong local economy is my top priority. It was great to meet local success stories like Aura Gas who are committed to helping young people build their careers.

'˜Nationally, I'm committed to boosting apprenticeships, as they give young people the opportunity to learn a valuable skill while earning at the same time, and raise the productivity of businesses.

'˜Our apprentices are the future of our economy '“ and we must all get behind them if we want a bright future for our area.' 

Mr Mak has organised three jobs, apprenticeships and careers fairs attended by over 2,000 people on each occasion, backed by  The Ne ws.

He will host his fourth in early 2019. Any business interested in exhibiting should email [email protected]