Jobs campaign 'great idea' says minister during Thorntons visit

SKILLS Minister John Hayes has given our We Want To Work campaign the thumbs-up during a visit to Derbyshire. Mr Hayes was at Thorntons’ headquarters to meet a group of qualifying apprentices at the confectionery giant.

During his visit, he praised Thorntons for its apprenticeship programmes and said the firm’s focus on reducing costs by training staff to the highest levels was “fantastic”. He also gave a ringing endorsement to We Want To Work, which is aimed at helping the county’s jobless find jobs by advertising their skills and experience. Mr Hayes, whose portfolio responsibilities include adult skills and apprenticeships, said: “I think this campaign is a great idea because it makes a link between the supply and demand in employment. “We are in a difficult economic time but that doesn’t mean there are no jobs out there or people looking for them. Making that link and building that marriage is critically important. I pay tribute to the Derby Telegraph for its efforts.”

The apprenticeship scheme at Thorntons has involved 17 workers training for more than a year in food manufacturing excellence. Those apprentices are the first in England to achieve that qualification and the success of the scheme has seen Thornton’s pledge to take on another 40 apprentices. The aim of the apprenticeships was to help make £1 million of savings by reducing waste and production downtime while improving productivity. Mr Hayes handed certificates to the passing-out apprentices and had a tour of the firm’s Alfreton factory yesterday, and he said Thorntons was a shining example of how big businesses could invest in their workforce to make savings.