From the outset, the Harwich Mayflower Project has held the primary function of generating jobs and opportunities within the town and local community, particularly for the young. At the start of 2012, 32% of the 18-24 year olds within the local postcode were unemployed. Furthermore, the huge range of maritime history that Harwich holds is largely unknown to newer generations. In addition, the number of apprenticeships undertaken and completed in Harwich over the past few years has been minimal, many of those which are available locally are focussed in service industries and offer little long-term economic benefit to the community.
One of our goals is to try and rejuvenate the town, primarily through providing access to further education and training in industrial roles that have diminished in the community in recent years. Initially focussing on marine engineering apprenticeships (Linked to the construction of the Pilgrims vessel), we intent to expand and develop further in relation to the local leisure craft and the commercial marine industry.
Modern apprenticeships are work-based training programmes where the apprentice earns a wage and works alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. And assessor visits the learner on site to complete the NVQ portion of the framework. Typically, on a day-release basis, the apprentice receives training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications such as VRQ and additional key skills. There remains a shortfall of enlightened employers who are willing to support this ‘day for skills’ training despite extensive government grants and the obvious long-term benefits. Accordingly, the Project has broadened its scope to offer other ‘taster’ courses such as pre-apprenticeships as well as a broader range of apprenticeships, such as Construction. These also fit Project needs as noted in the Buildings section.