On 28 November 2011, Kevan Jones visited the Chester-le-Street based Pacifica Group, who operate the 0800 Repair Service.

The North Durham MP met four of Pacifica Group’s apprentices when he visited their offices, and pledged to put Pacifica Group Managing Director, Kevin Brown in touch with John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, to see if the Government can do more to help.

Mr Brown said: “Apprenticeships are the best way for our business to grow and play an integral part in the huge expansion we have planned for our business.”

“Because there is a shortage of skills in the appliance engineering field, bringing on our own apprentices will be crucial part of our growth.

“However, although we and other companies need to recruit more young people, the costs of funding the young people from 16 to 18 before they are fully trained can be a struggle – we all need more support.

“It’s well worth the Government considering extra measures. Apprenticeships are good for us and good for the trainees.

“They create a clear career path that sees successful youngsters eventually progress in a full time role – many of our senior managers have worked their way up from entry level to top positions.

“We would like to develop the first unique City & Guilds NVQ3 in white goods appliance engineering – no course exists at present, and it could create new opportunities for young people and create jobs.”

Kevan Jones commented: “This national company which has its headquarters in Chester-le-Street has so much to be proud of, in terms of its rapid business growth and success in the appliance repairs market.

“However, like so many other companies, its faces major challenges in the recruitment of apprentices so I am hoping to help the firm find the right help and support to help them grow.”