THE Examiner’s Kirklees Apprenticeship Challenge campaign aims to show young people what a world of work can offer them.

Many will be making tough decisions now as to whether to stay on at college or try to find a job.

And one way into work is to go for an apprenticeship.

Over the next few weeks we will be profiling how apprenticeships work, interviewing apprentices and bosses to find out how both benefit.

The Examiner recently highlighted the woeful lack of interest in a textile apprenticeship and that kick-started a renewed awareness among young people about Huddersfield’s traditional industries.

Now we are taking it a step further with The Kirklees Apprenticeship Challenge.

There are around 14,000 employers in Kirklees, but only around 1,100 of these were known to have apprentices in 2009-10.

This is 7.9% of employers, slightly above the regional average of 7.3%.

Kirklees has 13.1% of its 16 to 18-year-olds participating in apprenticeships.The regional average is 14.1% so let’s try to boost that figure together.

In terms of the Kirklees economy, apprenticeships are projected to generate 10,540 full-time equivalent jobs between 2010 and 2026 – which represents an expansion of 7.8%.

The main job gains will be in distribution, hotel, catering, transport, communications and construction.

Calderdale and Kirklees Careers offer information advice and guidance to help young people and adults to achieve successful transitions into education and work.

The interest in apprenticeships is growing. This summer in Kirklees there are 904 school leavers expressing an interest in apprenticeships.

So far 54 of these are fixed-up with an employer, which leaves a further 850 looking for a company to take them on.

Through the challenge we want to show employers the key business benefits of apprenticeships and just how easy it is for them to get involved.

We want to promote apprenticeship as a viable option to young people to progress their career aspirations through vocational learning without being saddled with the debt they would be with some forms of higher education.