17 Dec 2012 Last updated at 00:00

Employment minister visits Isle of Wight businesses

The Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban MP, saw the diverse nature of the Isle of Wight economy during a visit today (Monday 17 December).

During his fact-finding visit, Mr Hoban toured one of the Island’s most celebrated and innovative businesses, Sandown-based ethical clothing company Rapanui. He also visited GKN at East Cowes, which is the Island’s largest private sector employer.
In between, he visited the Isle of Wight College at Newport for a business lunch – prepared by students at the college’s award-winning cookery school - where he met local industry leaders and also representatives from the Isle of Wight Council, who highlighted some of the measures that are being taken to stimulate the local economy and create jobs.

These included the council’s pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programmes that are aimed at helping young people into employment. The success of these schemes was demonstrated at Rapanui where Harvey Dobson has graduated from pre-apprentice to full time employee at the expanding young company.
He is one of nearly 100 young people to pass through the scheme – many going on earn full apprenticeships or employment. The council undertakes this scheme with local training providers and also works closely with agencies including the Department of Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus.

Mark Hoban said; "I have been really impressed by the partnership between the council, Job Centre Plus and employers to create real opportunities for young people on the Island.
"It is clear that programmes such as work experience and the pre-apprenticeship scheme really boost chances for young people.
"Today we have added extra support by enabling employers to claim up to £2,275 if they employ for a minimum of six months someone who has been unemployed for six months.
"This will help employers with the cost of training, equipment and wage costs. I hope this will be a real incentive for employers here on the Island to give young people a chance."

'Working closely'
David Pugh, Isle of Wight Council leader said; "I invited the minister to visit the Island to see first hand the work going on to address local employment challenges. 
"The council is working very closely with a number of employers, ranging from successful start-up firms like Rapanui right up to global giants GKN Aerospace, creating employment opportunities.
"It was a successful visit and I know Mark was impressed by what he saw. The Island has a diverse economy and we face our own unique challenges such as separation by sea, seasonal fluctuations in employment and some areas of low educational attainment.
"In today’s visit we demonstrated that the local authority is working closely with partners and with employers of all sizes to stimulate the local economy and to give young people a hand onto the employment ladder."

(L - R) David Pugh, Rob Drake-Knight, Kerrie Honey, Mark Hoban, Mark Drake-Knight during the visit to Rapanui
(L - R) David Pugh, Rob Drake-Knight, Kerrie Honey, Mark Hoban, Mark Drake-Knight during the visit to Rapanui
  • Mark and Rob started Rapanui from their bedroom.
Isle of Wight