Man fights for fairer access to apprenticeships

A MORPETH man is urging people to back his internet campaign for fairer access to apprenticeships.

Ben Winfield has created an e-petition on the Government’s website after being told that there was a funding issue for those with a degree.

Like many others across the UK, the 22-year-old has found it difficult to get a permanent job after leaving university and he has recently tried to boost his CV by applying for apprenticeship and NVQ courses.

“Bearing in mind the Government is desperately trying to get people back into employment, I find it hard to believe that I would be prevented from getting extra qualifications just for having a degree,” he said.

“If people such as myself felt their degree was sufficient to gain employment, there would be no reason to apply for such courses.

“I wanted to highlight the issue for all those who have faced this problem and felt that the best way to do this was at source so I did an e-petition.

“Since doing this I have also been advised that age can restrict access to courses and this is also unfair.”

The Stobhill resident, who used to attend King Edward VI School, has been a volunteer at the Morpeth branch of Oxfam since 2008 and he completed a computer forensics degree at Northumbria University in summer 2010.

He spent six months at an IT mailing company, which said that it could not afford to train him, and he recently did a four-week work experience programme at Tesco in Bedlington.

Mr Winfield said: “I found the programme useful and it would be good if many other businesses offered a similar placement so people looking for a job can get some experience of different roles and systems.”

To support his e-petition, visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/28618