MP Victoria Prentis joins discussion on creating more apprenticeship opportunities in Banbury

Banbury MP Victoria Prentis joined a roundtable discussion alongside other politicians, charities, and employers to improve apprenticeship opportunities in the town.
Victoria Prentis alongside other attendees of Monday's meeting on increasing apprenticeship opportunities in Banbury.Victoria Prentis alongside other attendees of Monday's meeting on increasing apprenticeship opportunities in Banbury.
Victoria Prentis alongside other attendees of Monday's meeting on increasing apprenticeship opportunities in Banbury.

The meeting on Monday, January 23, included Liz Leffman, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, and Cherwell District councillors Dr Chukwudi Okeke and Sean Woodcock, as well as representatives from Jacobs Douwe Egberts, the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the Warriner School, and local charities.

Current apprentice at the coffee manufacturer Grace Robinson and former apprentice and winner of the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards’ Shining Star Ryan Taylor spoke about the challenges of starting as an apprentice and how crucial pastoral support and mentorship were in their journey.

Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury and Attorney General, said: "Apprenticeships are a brilliant way for young people to kickstart their careers.

The meeting discussed a number of ways in which to increase apprenticeships in Banbury.The meeting discussed a number of ways in which to increase apprenticeships in Banbury.
The meeting discussed a number of ways in which to increase apprenticeships in Banbury.

"They also have a really positive impact on businesses and the wider economy. Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, I was pleased to join a roundtable hosted by Jacobs Douwe Egberts and OxLEP in Banbury.

"It was great to hear from local business leaders and apprentices about their experiences. We discussed everything from the important role local businesses play in creating jobs and upskilling people to how apprentices can be supported in the long term. I really would encourage all those considering their next steps to think about an apprenticeship."

At the meeting, a number of ways to improve apprenticeship takeup were discussed, including raising awareness of the various types of apprenticeships, providing employers with the necessary tools to hire apprentices, and increasing the appeal of apprenticeships to young people as an alternative to university study.

Keith Fisher, the apprenticeship manager at JDE Banbury, commented: "I’m incredibly proud of our apprentices, and it was fantastic to be able to introduce them to so many people and highlight the work they’re doing.

"Having been at JDE for over 20 years, I’m excited to see how the apprenticeship programme will go from strength to strength as we bring in more people and continue to work with OxLEP and others across the region to give people more opportunities."

Cllr Liz Leffman, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, added: "At Oxfordshire County Council, we want to invest in people’s future careers and aspirations, allowing them to gain new skills with on-the-job training and recognised qualifications."

"Apprenticeships play such a key role - we want to build on our own work, as well as urge other local employers on what they can do. We received the Large Employer Award at the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards, and our apprentices are achieving great things, being recognised for the Apprentice of the Year and the Shining Star awards."