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Firm provides work & recovery for injured ex-soldiers

Factory in Aylesford, run by The Royal British Legion Industries, provides work for former military service personnel

Since the end of the Great War the Royal British Legion Industries in Kent has been employing former service personnel to manufacture a range of products.

The aim is to help injured soldiers with their long-term recovery - after their military career is over. Profits go towards helping those who find it hard to re-enter civilian life - and the enterprise has now re-branded itself to reflect the values behind its work. Derek Johnson reports.

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Orchard needs to fill hundreds of job vacancies

Orchard's five hundred seasonal job vacancies need to be filled Credit: PA

A large fruit-growing company is looking for people from Kent to fill more than 500 seasonal job vacancies.

Apple and pear grower AC Goat-am and Son produces nearly a quarter of all British fruit sold in the UK. The firm employs many overseas workers, but is keen to attract local applicants.

The new workers are needed for the 2016 harvest, based largely in Medway and Swale. The first batch of the full time jobs will begin in May, when the thinning of fruit takes place in the orchards, through to picking fruit in the orchards from August and then working in the packhouse through to May 2017.

AC Goatham & Son has seventeen farms and twenty partner farms across Medway and Kent, growing in total around 150 million apples each year.

Many people join over the summer months and stay on for as long as possible, moving from role to role. We are looking for people who are physically fit, flexible, as the teams work in shifts and will enjoy working both inside and outside, in all weather. This is hard work but financially rewarding and many people have gone on to other senior roles within the organisation, who started off as part of the picking or packing team several years ago."

– Gayle Goatham, HR Manager, AC Goatham & Son

Workers to get a boost in pay

Thousand of workers will get an extra 50p per hour Credit: PA

Thousands of workers will receive an extra 50p an hour pay rise today.

The National Living Wage means over 25s must receive at least £7.20 an hour, instead of £6.70.

Some say it is long overdue, but critics say it could put struggling firms out of business and may lead to job losses.

There is more information on the Government's living wage website.

Laura's tattoo prevents her working for RAF

"I just want to serve my Queen and country" - the words of 27-year-old Laura Hill, from Faringdon in Oxfordshire, who wants to secure a dream position working in the RAF. But, she was refused because of a tattoo on her neck - which the RAF says is visible above the collar line. She's fighting the decision - and says they need to review their policy, especially since the Army changed its rules on visible tattoos. Divya Kohli reports

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All you need to know about apprenticeships now

Apprenticeships are on the agenda during National Apprenticeship Week

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) provides funding for skills training for further education in England.

The organisation supports more than 1,000 colleges, private training organisations, and employers with £3.7 billion of funding each year. It also runs the National Apprenticeship Service.

To mark this year's National Apprenticeship Week, our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford has been looking at the state of apprenticeships - and how competitive it can be to get onto one.

Following on from the theme, ITV Meridian presenter Fred Dinenage, spoke to Sue Husband from the SFA about the new levy employers will have to pay towards the cost of apprenticeships, and about whether it's time to simplify the system for young people who want to do apprenticeships.

  1. Christine Alsford

How tough is it to get an apprenticeship?

The Government intends to create three million apprenticeships within the next four years. But how many of them will be at the higher end of the scale - offering top quality skills and qualifications?

Currently, only a tiny percentage - are available with the best companies - and competition to win places can be tougher than getting into Oxford or Cambridge

So our Social Affairs Correspondent - Christine Alsford - has been looking at what needs to be done to create more opportunities

Are there enough higher level apprenticeships? Credit: ITV Meridian

More apprentices will be needed for new building jobs

Rise in construction industry will increase need for apprentices Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Building jobs in the south east are predicted to increase by more than two thousand in the next five years.

A new report by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) shows that the rise will inspire more young people to become apprentices.

A young CITB apprentice learning the skills of the job Credit: CITB

Fighting poverty in Kent's most deprived area

It's one of the poorest parts of the South East, blighted in the past by shoddy housing, unemployment, crime and social behaviour.

But the two wards which are the most deprived in Kent - Cliftonville West and Margate Central - are gradually being improved, thanks to the pioneering work of the Margate Task Force.

It has 30 members taken from agencies, working together at Thanet council's offices in Margate.

We joined them on one of their Street Weeks and spoke to residents Warren Guy, Kayleigh Baldwin and to Michael Maiden, who's homeless. Also to John Coull from Margate Task Force and Kay Byatt from the group A Better Cliftonville.

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