Today we turn the spotlight on the enterprising and hard-working young people who really make a difference as we launch the third annual Apprenticeship Awards.
Run by the Gloucester Citizen, Gloucestershire Echo and Stroud Life, the 2014 Apprenticeship Awards recognise both the businesses and the young men and women who are driving apprenticeship schemes in this county.
This year we have 11 categories covering all sectors, including the prestigious Gloucestershire Apprentice of the Year.
In the coming weeks we will showcase apprenticeships that are providing our industries with the skills they so badly need.
It all culminates in a glittering apprenticeship awards evening at the Hatherley Manor Hotel, near Gloucester on June 12 when the winners will be revealed.
It is very easy to enter, just visit gloucestershireecho.co.uk/apprenticeship or gloucestercitizen..uk/apprenticeship for the details.
None of this would be possible without the support of the county businesses and training providers.
These include the awards title sponsors Gloucestershire College and The Warranty Group, together with Renishaw, Mercedes-Benz of Cheltenham and Gloucester, Safran Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, CF Roberts, Clarkson Evans, Gloucestershire Engineering Training, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucester City Council and Amey.
Matthew Burgess, Principal of Gloucestershire College, said yesterday: "The Apprenticeship Awards are an excellent annual showcase of the positive impact apprenticeships have, both on the lives of young people and on the businesses with whom they train.
"Apprenticeships are particularly special. They represent a valued route into a career; an opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications, job specific skills and hands-on experience in the workplace doing real work with real responsibilities."
He added: "We continue to see a strong demand from young people across the county who are keen to start an apprenticeship across a wide range of industry areas, and I'm proud to work in Gloucestershire where the business community continue to meet this demand and support the ambitions of our apprentices.
"With rising university costs and employability skills high on the agenda, apprenticeships are offering a real alternative for our talented young people who are keen to make a headstart in their careers."