JCB Academy teenagers become apprentices for first time

Prince Charles talks to Kristofer Anstey, then 14, who was working on pump designs for a Rolls Royce engine during a visit to the JCB Academy in 2011 Prince Charles talked to teenager Kristofer Anstey when he officially opened the JCB Academy

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Teenagers from the JCB Academy have become apprentices at the digger firm for the first time, as it creates more than 100 jobs for young people.

The 15 academy school teenagers are 16 and 18-year-olds who first went to the £22m facility when it opened at Rocester, Staffordshire, in 2010.

JCB said the number of young people recruited now was more than double the 2011 figure, of about 40.

North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce said the figures were "excellent news".

The digger firm said more than 100 jobs were being created for young people in late August and early September.

Of these, 55 people were joining the business this week to start as apprentices, including the 15 teenagers who represent the first ever intake from the JCB Academy.

'Really pleased'

Next week 30 graduates start work at the company, while last week 18 engineering undergraduates, sponsored by JCB, joined the company for their year in industry.

The academy school, in a Grade II listed building at Rocester, has specialised in engineering diplomas as well as GCSEs and A-levels and was set up "to create the engineers and business leaders of the future", JCB said.

JCB academy principal Jim Wade said: "We are really pleased that many of our young people are moving on to apprenticeships with many of the key employers across the region."

Chamber of commerce membership and policy manager Jane Gratton said: "A high quality workforce is essential to the success of our growing manufacturing sector in North Staffs and graduates and apprentices will be an integral part of this in the years ahead.

"The JCB Academy is helping us to grow our own engineering talent.

"Today's news sends a very clear and positive message to young people coming through our schools, academies and universities that there is an exciting future for them in local manufacturing."

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