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Apprenticeships open up Tech City opportunities

Tech City, the East London area the government says is Europe's fastest growing technology hub, now has its own apprenticeship programme, run by Hackney Community College and its subsidiary View Training. The programme will initially focus on ICT skills and "front of house" roles, but by autumn the college intends to have developed level 4 apprenticeships in programming and in digital design. Companies involved at launch include Poke, a digital design agency, which counts fashion brand Diesel and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver among its clients. The college also says Facebook and Google, which supports startup businesses in the area through its Campus initiative, are "committed" to the apprenticeship programme, although neither has announced their plans for recruitment so far.

Employability scheme offers skills to bank on

Barclays Bank has launched a programme called LifeSkills, aimed at providing a million young people with employability skills by 2015. It will help students to prepare CVs, manage money and build self-confidence, and comes with the offer of thousands of work experience places at Barclays and other companies. "With over one million young people unemployed, the challenge of moving between school and employment has never been greater," said Antony Jenkins, Barclays chief executive. Mr Jenkins also said that the company has changed its apprentice recruitment to focus on young people not in education, employment or training, removing requirements for prior qualifications in literacy and numeracy in order to offer opportunities to more disadvantaged jobseekers.

Higher training leads to a pound;150,000 earnings boost

Higher apprenticeships offer a lifetime earnings boost of more than pound;150,000 - about the same as university degrees - without incurring tuition costs, according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The report also warns that 12.1 per cent of graduates leaving education in 2012-13 will be unemployed after six months. "We are making sure apprenticeships are an effective path into highly paid jobs and higher-level learning," skills minister Matthew Hancock said. "This report rightly shows that the rewards - both in earnings and career progression - can exceed those of graduates." Jane Scott Paul, chief executive of the Association of Accounting Technicians, which commissioned the report, said: "University should not be seen as one size fits all. There are often cheaper and faster vocational alternatives available, providing equally valid routes into work. Young people must be given all the options."

College announces plans for pound;70m STEM `Hub'

Central College Nottingham has unveiled plans for a pound;70 million city- centre campus. Expected to take three years to complete, the "Hub" will offer 30,000 sq m of teaching space over six storeys, with space for 4,000 full-time students. The college intends to focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), dedicating some labs and workshops to training in low-carbon technologies. "The proposal (is for) an iconic building that will serve the city well for decades to come," principal Malcolm Cowgill said. "The new (building) is part of the college's long- term ambition to improve education and progression to employment in Nottingham." It will also have a sports hall with an all-weather pitch on the roof, available for community as well as college use.

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