AS students up and down the country eagerly await their GCSE results, Halfords announces it will increase the investment in its apprentice training programme with a target of 760 apprentices by the end of its financial year.

The news comes as the Government’s policy of making all GCSE students who achieve a D grade or lower in English or Maths face compulsory resits comes into effect.

People Director at Halfords’ Jonathan Crookall says: “As the new resit rules come into effect, we’re conscious of the challenges school leavers will face this year, as it becomes clear that apprenticeships and alternatives to traditional education are becoming more relevant than ever before. In the last year we recruited 184 young people (including 80 in our Autocentres business).

“For those that want to avoid the “resit trap”, an apprenticeship offers an alternative route to success, qualifications and long term employment.”

Halfords has also added its voice of support to the Government’s new work experience campaign, WEcan, which aims to get thousands of young people job-ready for the future.

Elijah Sumner, aged 19, from Cardiff, shows how far you can get with an apprenticeship. The 2013 and 2014 Halfords Autocentres Apprentice of the Year has progressed to the final of the WorldSkills Competition being held in Brazil this month.

Halfords Autocentres has committed to 100 new apprentices across its 304 sites by March 2016, taking its total number to 260. It also follows the launch of Halfords’ new retail traineeship employment scheme, which commits to 500 new apprentices across its retail stores over the next 12 months.

Halfords Autocentres, which invests significantly in its apprenticeship programme, has also announced its goal to have one apprentice in every centre by 2017. With a 20 year Apprenticeship heritage, Halfords Autocentre apprenticeships have an 80% success rate for the completion of the three year scheme. The apprentices qualify with an NVQ Level 3 (Light Vehicle Maintenance) Standard combing learning with practical, on-the-job training.

The Apprenticeship scheme across Halfords Retail Stores was launched by George Osborne earlier in the year and is open to people who are currently unemployed, long-term unemployed and NEETs*. The traineeship pre-employment scheme which equips candidates with four qualifications, follows a successful pilot with a 62% success rate of candidates going on to secure jobs in store.

Halfords has 11,000 employees and was named number 18 in the Sunday Times Best Big Companies to work for.

To find out more about apprenticeships in Halfords Autocentres or Halfords stores, visit www.halfordscareers.com

*Not in education, employment or training

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