A Bradford MP says more needs to be done to fill 600 empty apprenticeship places in the district.

David Ward was speaking during National Apprenticeship Week following a visit to City Training Services (CTS), which is part of the Bradford College group.

During the campaign week, which ended yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg spoke of the importance of apprenticeships and traineeships for the national economy and the benefits they bring to individuals and employers across the country.

CTS, based in Little Germany, is one of the largest providers of apprenticeships in West Yorkshire and has a 30-year track record in helping young people find the right education, training programmes and employment.

During the visit, the Bradford East MP saw how CTS has been working with employers Eclipse Legal Systems.

Mr Ward said the 600 unfilled places were at CTS and there may be more across Bradford.

He said it was a serious situation and one that needed addressing as more companies approached CTS, but it struggled to fill the apprenticeship places it already had.

Speaking about the calibre of three apprentices currently placed through CTS, founder of Eclipse Legal Systems Steven Ough said: “Once the realisation of the scale of the opportunity grabs them, their determination to achieve, and hunger for knowledge, is fantastic.

“This experience in a dynamic, professional workplace has made them very employable people who are really beginning to shine.”

Mr Ward said: “It was great to meet enthusiastic local apprenticeships who are being supported by a successful local business. I must pay tribute to Steven and his team at Eclipse, the hard work of the guys at CTS and say thanks to all responsible employers in Bradford who support local apprenticeships for young people in Bradford.

“The number of apprenticeships in the country is at record levels with the number in Bradford almost doubling from 2010 to 2013. However, there are still around 600 empty apprenticeship places in Bradford so both the Council, schools and the Government need to do more to make apprenticeships a more attractive career opportunity.”

CTS has been working closely with the local business community to take on apprentices to help boost the economy and more than 1,900 apprentices have been placed with employers within the local region over the last year.

The Chief Executive of CTS, Richard Hinchliffe, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase Eclipse, they have successfully integrated apprenticeships into their recruitment strategy and it’s a win-win outcome for the company and the apprentice.”

Bradford social housing landlord Incommunities held a schools event this week for National Apprenticeship Week and Bradford Council For Mosques hosted an information session on Wednesday.

New drive for apprentices

A new campaign to create 150 new apprenticeships for local workers in just 100 days kicks off at Bradford’s Midland Hotel next Wednesday.

Employers are encouraged to attend the Bradford Apprenticeship Hub which will provide an insight into Bradford Council’s commitment to encouraging businesses to take on trainees.

Coun Ralph Berry and other keynote speakers will talk about why apprenticeships are the right option at the event from 5.30pm.

For more information call Invest in Bradford on: (01274) 437727 or email: info@investinbradford.com Meanwhile, businesses across the country have pledged their support to National Apprenticeship week by announcing 20,000 more apprenticeship places.

Scores of roles have been created in different industries.

Engineering NG Bailey, based in Ilkley, has 27 positions available and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has 60.

National organisations such as Lloyds Banking Group have committed to 5,000 apprentices, but 47 per cent of the employers creating new apprenticeships are small and medium sized enterprises.