Last year more than 30,000 in our region began life as an apprentice. With rising tuition fees, work placements are now being seen as a genuine alternative to getting a degree. Andy Dickenson reports.
Leaving school or college is a daunting prospect for some students, particularly as youth unemployment is rising. A careers fair was inundated with students wanting to find out about jobs apprenticeships and further education. Tom Savvides reports from Detling, near Maidstone.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has visited Sussex Downs College in Eastbourne to launch a new campaign aiming to help young people into work.
The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills was accompanied by MP for Eastbourne Stephen Lloyd to officially launch The Big Conversation - which aims to encourage employers in the town to create new apprenticeship vacancies.
The College, in partnership with the Eastbourne Chamber and other local organisations, is spearheading the initiative, which has been devised to help create meaningful employment opportunities for youngpeople and adults, and respond to the needs of local businesses in a difficult economic climate.
The Big Conversation will also demonstrate how the structure of an apprenticeship provides the ideal start for someone seeking their first step into employment or retraining in a new role.
Unemployment is rising in the South East despite falling in the rest of the country.
Six thousand more people were out of work in the three months leading to September, than during the last quarter.
The Government says the road ahead will be hard but overall in the region figures for the young unemployed are improving, slowly but steadily.
Sarah Saunders went along to a new mechanics workshop in Paddock Wood staffed by apprentices to ask whether green shoots for the economy are starting with the young.
She spoke to apprentice George Burman, charity director Richard Mayhew and businesswoman Nikki King.