THE NUMBER of people starting apprenticeships in Hastings and Rye last year more than doubled to 980.
The figures released by the BIS Data Service, show a 128 per cent increase from 430 in 2010 to 980 in 2011.
Provisional figures for the first quarter of 2012 are also positive with 330 apprenticeship starts.
Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd said: “National Apprenticeship Week is a great opportunity to congratulate apprentices across Hastings and Rye on the fantastic work they are doing and to highlight the huge benefits apprenticeships bring.
“Apprenticeships allow people to earn and learn at the same time, while significantly increasing their potential future earnings. But the benefits go wider than that – every £1 spent on an apprenticeship returns an estimated benefit of £18 to the economy.”
The upward trend is echoed at county level, with the number of apprenticeships started in East Sussex almost doubling from 1,990 in 2010 to 3,910 in 2011.
The Hastings 100 days apprenticeship challenge, launched last week by Hastings Borough Council, has had a good start, with 45 apprenticeships pledged already.
Two governors at Sussex Coast College experienced a taste of life as apprentices to mark Apprenticeship Week, last week.
Ken Melsom and Vic Kempner, each rose to the challenge of doing a mini ‘apprenticeship’ in an area of the college they were unfamiliar with.
Ken put on a welcoming smile at reception, where he spent a busy morning dealing with visitors’ requests and telephone enquiries.
“I learnt an awful lot,” he said. “Everything would come to a full stop without reception. It creates a first impression of the college and acts as a hub for college staff, visitors and students.”
Vic donned an apron and set to work in Coast Coffee shop, where he cleared tables, made teas, loaded the dishwasher and put the bins out.