Derek Thomas, Conservative Prospective MP, meets Nick Boles MP, Apprenticeship Minister, in Helston.

Derek Thomas, Conservative Prospective MP, welcomed Government Minister, Nick Boles MP, to Helston to visit Westley Garage on the Water-ma-Trout Industrial Estate. Nick, who has responsibility for apprenticeships, met with Martin and Julie Westley and new apprentice, Toby Bedford, to discuss how changes to the modern apprenticeship system are affecting small businesses.

Nick Boles MP used his visit to Helston to talk in depth to new apprentice Toby Bedford and owners, Martin and Julie Westley, about their views regarding the changes that have been made to the apprenticeship scheme.

Nick Boles said "We are determined that every school leaver goes into higher education or takes an apprenticeship as a path into a decent career. The improvements we have made to the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme are such that apprenticeships are increasingly being seen as equal in value to university degrees. I have come to visit Westley Garage today because I wanted to see what further help employers need to employ an apprentice and grow their business."

Westley Garage Helston is an established family run independent garage providing Helston and the surrounding area specialist vehicle servicing and diagnostics. Huge investments have been made in diagnostic capabilities and training which are needed to keep up to date with new technologies, including that of hybrid technology. Westley Garage is a member of the Servicesure Autocentre network of garages, which gives customers the added benefit of a National Warranty Scheme from a local garage, which is Trading Standards Institute approved.

Following the visit Julie Westley said, "It is important to us that young people like Toby are given the best training and support available. Being able to welcome Nick Boles, who is in charge of apprenticeships, to our garage and discuss with him our experience of the Modern Apprenticeship Programme was very helpful."

Derek Thomas, who has recently taken a young person from Helston through the apprenticeship scheme within his building business, has pledged to tackle West Cornwall's low wage economy by working to increase the number of skilled jobs available. Encouraging employers to take on trainees as apprentices is an essential part of his plan.

Derek Thomas said, "For a young person an apprenticeship can lead to a decent wage and the opportunity to stay here in West Cornwall. It is very important that the apprenticeships we provide are tailored to the needs of local businesses and that employers feel taking on an apprentice is good for business. I invited Nick Boles to Westley Garage because I have taken a keen interest in Martin and Julie's journey through the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme."

Photo: Derek Thomas and Apprenticeship Minister, Nick Boles MP, with Martin and Julie Westley and their staff.