Labour leader Ed Miliband gave his personal seal of approval to a new creative and digital media apprenticeship scheme at a London college, shortly after launching a taskforce that will investigate how to improve computer skills training across the country.
He met staff at Hackney Community College, apprentices and employers backing the scheme from firms based at nearby Tech City, in Shoreditch, at 11.30am on November 12.
Mr Miliband’s visit followed his party’s announcement that former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin, who is now chief executive of TeenTech which encourages teenagers to pursue careers in science, engineering and technology, had been appointed as head of a new digital skills taskforce.
This will work with schools, colleges and employers to produce recommendations before the next general election to improve training in this sector across the country.
Mr Miliband was greeted by principal Ian Ashman outside the college, before meeting apprentices and employers from Tech City in the canteen.
The Labour leader said: “When I meet young people and businesses like this, I see what the future can hold for the British economy — skilled people trained here, bringing well-paid jobs and security for the future.”
When I meet young people and businesses like this, I see what the future can hold for the British economy — skilled people trained here, bringing well-paid jobs and security for the future.
Mr Ashman said: “There are very few apprenticeships in this sector and this is level four, so we are very proud of what we are doing here.
“It has taken around 18 months to carefully develop this apprenticeship scheme, with a lot of input from the employers, which we are extremely grateful for.”
Obinna Ozoukwu, aged 22, enjoyed telling Mr Miliband about the apprenticeship he recently began with the college and Tech City digital design agency Ustwo.
He said: “It was exciting talking to him. It’s such an exciting time in general now I’ve started this apprenticeship, as I can see the way forward with what I want to be.”
Apprentice Kofi Adu-Boahen, 22, also met Mr Miliband.
He said: “It was good to meet him. I’m working four days a week for Poke, which is a Tech City creative agency that produces adverts for Facebook, Twitter and e-commerce and does things like web design.
“Then I will also be coming into the college one day a week.”
Natalie Lambert will be Kofi’s mentor at Poke.
She said: “Apprenticeships are something we feel really passionate about, as we have been in this part of London for 11 or 12 years now and want to give something back to the local community by training local people.”
Mr Miliband also met Symone Gray, 19, a business administration apprentice who is working in the principal’s office as part of her course.
She said: “It was good to meet such an important person. I really love being an apprentice here. “They show a lot of faith in me here and give me a lot of responsibility, which I really appreciate.
“If you don’t do something right first time, they give you a lot of opportunities to do it again and improve.
“I look after Mr Ashman’s post, check his emails, take notes and work on reception.”