July 18 - As demand for apprenticeships is demanding as jobs become harder, one British car factory has doubled its numbers of young people in such schemes. Kelly Lemon reports.
At the age of 19 Nicola is enjoying the perks of the job, a salary, a new car every nine months, and an education. It's all part of the package as one of BMW's apprentices. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICOLA STANTON, APPRENTICE, BMW GROUP, SAYING: "The actual idea of the apprenticeship really appealed to me. It's kind of learning at the same time through collage but getting the experience in the work place and also the appeal of getting a full time contract at the end of my apprenticeship. Although it's not guaranteed it's a great career move and I will get a job at the end of it and hopefully it'll be for life." Apprenticeships in the UK aren't new, but the demand for them is increasing as jobs become harder to find. The Government helps fund the scheme which last for 3 to 4 years and for BMW it's one of their main sources of recruitment. But the company's communications manager, Wayne Morse, says it's not just the financial incentives that appeal. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WAYNE MORSE, BMW GROUP'S COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, SAYING: "For us it's a benefit because they're a blank canvas. We can mould them and shape them and shape them and train them and skill them up specifically for a role they are earmarked for in three of four years time." It's little surprise the number of apprentices in this factory have doubled, especially as the country's unemployment rate remains high. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KELLY LEMON, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "Every 68 seconds a brand new mini comes off the production line here in Oxford in the UK, that's just under a thousand per day. The US is its biggest market with the UK right behind it. But it's China that's the fastest growing one." Growth from China and the introduction of the Mini into India fuel hopes business will continue to grow. And that's one of the reasons BMW is investing an extra 250 million pounds in its UK production. Almost 250 job roles are available to apprentices in various industries across the UK. Kelly Lemon, Reuters