The Duke of York has today put his weight behind a KM Group campaign to get businesses to take on apprentices.
Prince Andrew met firms from across the county this afternoon in support of Kick Start Kent, which aims to get 50 companies to take on an apprentice within the year.
HRH met employers and young people who have benefited from apprenticeships at a reception hosted by the KM Group and attended by more than 50 companies at Maidstone Museum.
HRH The Duke of York meets Logic PM apprentice Chris Dembrey at the Kick Start Kent event
The former Royal Navy helicopter pilot, who did not go to university, is a huge advocate of vocational training and a champion of apprenticeships.
He told the assembled guests: "We have got to give young people the skills to carry on where we have left off. It is more about legacy.
"I know that in virtually every case when somebody has taken on an apprentice they have said a few months later 'why the hell didn't we do it before?'
"Don't think that this is a one time thing. You have got to consider long term and work amongst yourselves and with each other and I can appreciate that there are lots of people in the local community who have knowledge you can all use. I wish you all success."
KM Group chairman Geraldine Allinson, left, and Louis Hurst, founder of Amelix, with HRH Duke of York
He added: "I think it is very important that a media organisation like the KM catalyses like this. What they can do for the local economy is really huge so I wish you every success."
KM Group chairman Geraldine Allinson said: "The fact the Duke of York came to support the Kick Start Kent campaign is a testament to how important it is to get more people into apprenticeships.
"The KM Group took on its first editorial apprentice last year and we are reaping the benefits.
HRH Duke of York speaks to businesses as part of KM Group's Kick Start Kent campaign
"Yet there are many companies out there which could train an employee ideally suited to their businesses' needs. We urge them to sign up to the Kick Start Kent campaign."
Ramsay Cowan, director of training provider IPS, the KM Group’s campaign partner, said: “It just goes to show the value of apprenticeships that the Duke of York is coming down and putting his weight behind this campaign.
To join the KM Group's Kick Start Kent campaign, email email@example.com
“It raises the profile of this type of vocational training and is a welcome boost for Kent.
“Apprenticeships are going well now but we need to maintain this momentum.
“We are seeing more and more organisations, which were reluctant to take on an apprentice, now hiring them because of the credibility of the Kick Start Kent campaign.”
Louis Hurst from Amelix of Whistable told of his experience with apprentices. He said: "You generate loyal, passionate, hard working staff who are trained exactly the way you want them to be."
The KM Group is highlighting the benefits of hiring an apprentice with its Kick Start Kent campaign, aiming to get 50 companies to take on a young person.
For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org