The official press release continues:
"In the period July 2010 to January 2011 – the most up to date figures available – a total of 310 16 to 18 year olds began an apprenticeship in Reading . This is up from 155 for the same period in 2009/10.
The impressive figures equate to a 100% rise in apprenticeships starts, almost twice as much as Brighton and Hove on 52 % who lie second in the south-east 'league table' of improvements.
The sharp rise in 2010/11 mirrors improvements made in the previous year when Reading had the 5th highest rise in the South-East and is an indicator of the sustained efforts made in Reading to drive up the number of apprenticeships on offer across the town for youngsters leaving school or college.
The number of apprenticeships recruited in Reading for all age groups – which include 16-18 year olds, 19 to 24 year olds and 25-plus – totals 686. This represents a 83% year on year increase and puts Reading second in the south east.
The latest figures are a major boost for the effectiveness of partnership work between Reading Borough Council and a range of public and private sector organisations that have been working together over the past year to increase the number of apprenticeships available to Reading people...
On February 10 this year Reading launched its 100 in 100 campaign, which aimed to recruit 100 apprentices within 100 days. The 100 in 100 campaign is a partnership initiative involving, the National Apprenticeship Service, Reading UK CIC, Reading Borough Council and nine Training Providers delivering apprenticeships within Reading .As I said at Cabinet yesterday, our positive legacy at local level speaks for itself.
As of the end of May, 166 pledges had been made by employers to start apprenticeships. Of these 78 had actually started. "
Improving life chances for all young people was a key priority for us - and in particular for my fantastic colleague Kirsten Bayes who cares passionately about this issue.
These statistics show that while we were in office we massively increased and enhanced vocational opportunities for young people in Reading.
We did this by being more proactive in relation to the involving the private sector and increased the number of apprenticeships available within the Council.
At national level the Coalition Government is investing in thousands of new vocational training places.
But we recognise that with a highly competitive jobs market there is always more we can do and should do to support young people.
I sincerely hope the new administration builds on where we left off.
However, given Labour councillors have only pledged to 'monitor progress' in relation to apprenticeships I am doubtful they posses either the imagination or the drive needed to take this important area forward.