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Date added: 20 January 2012

Lord Digby Jones in Swindon 

SWTV INTERVIEW - Plan 500, The Outlook For Swindon + The Chinese Investment Question
 
SwindonWebTV caught up with Lord Digby Jones Kt, the UK Business Ambassador and Chairman of British Airways, who spoke at the launch of the next phase of Plan 500 at Nationwide in Swindon.
 
We asked him:
 
- his candid opinion on the future prospects for Swindon
- the importance of skills training for local young people
- the topical question of Chinese investment in local employer, Thames Water
 
Lord Digby Jones in Swindon
 
Lord Digby Jones in Swindon
 
Lord Digby Jones in Swindon
 
Plan 500  
 
Plan 500's purpose is to increase the number of job opportunities for young people by providing a single point of entry for employers wishing to offer work, training or support to young people aged 16-24.

Last year Plan 500 beat its own target to offer 500 job opportunities, reaching 557 at its close in September 2011. 
 
A new set of targets have been established for 2012, with more emphasis on tracking the effectiveness of each. In 2012 Plan 500 will aim to deliver:
 
- 150 new Apprenticeships
- 150 new Work Experience opportunities
- 25 additional Business Mentors trained
- 100 Employers receiving Work Based Qualifications information linked to RPA*
- 75 young people not in employment, education or training, being assigned a mentor 
 
The next phase of Plan 500 comes at a time when the Government have increased to 18 the age at which young people can leave education or training.
 
This initiative is called Raising the Participation Age, or RPA. This is the first time in 40 years that the “leaving age” has been raised, and means that young people must stay at school, college or training of some kind until they reach 18 years. 
 
Backing Young Swindon
 
Other speakers at the event included Anne Carrigan, Nationwide’s Head of Resourcing who chairs the Plan 500 board; Ian Piper, CEO at Forward Swindon, delivery partner for Plan 500; Dr John Chudley from the National Apprenticeship Service; and Rob Angus, Head of Strategy and Planning at Nationwide Building Society.
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