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Ladder for the Black Country


Supported by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, The Evening Standard launched Ladder for London in September 2012 to help tackle youth unemployment through apprenticeships, with City Gateway as their campaign partner and apprentice provider. The aims of the first phase of the campaign were to achieve 500 apprenticeship pledges from employers by Christmas 2012, and 100 placed in companies within 100 working days. These aims were exceeded and moved to the next phase of their campaign - to raise more than 1,000 apprenticeships.

In March 2014, Kevin Davis, Vine Trust Group CEO, led a Black Country delegation to Buckingham Palace, with a view to translate the ‘Ladder for.... ‘initiative to the region, to complement the variety of efforts to expand quality apprenticeships and work experience. Partners from industry, local authority, community, and the press, agreed to collaborate to create 15 month 'Ladder for the Black Country' campaign to create 500 jobs. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has agreed to be patron.


The scheme will operate across the Black Country areas of Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Dudley.


Ladder for Black Country will help unemployed young adults into work through paid apprenticeships. Through a high profiled, targeted media, web portal, call centre and coaching campaign, we will appeal to companies large, medium and small to take on an apprentice and help get the young Black Country, working.

Employers will:

  • be provided with a shortlist of suitable, and supported candidates to interview.
  • take on an apprentice for one year (if they can only manage part of a year, Vine Trust will ‘buddy them up’ with another employer)
  • employ them for at least 30 hours a week
  • release them to our principal or associate training provider, to complete their NVQ.
  • benefit from the increased media profile, and a bespoke one-stop tailored service.

To register an interest as an employer or apprentice please go to the main Ladder for the Black Country site.


Campaign Parteners

  • Prince Andrew, the Duke of York (Patron)
  • The Vine Trust Group ( Co-ordinator and youth coaching)
  • The Express and Star Newspaper (Media campaign leader)
  • The Black Country Chamber of Commerce (Employer Ambassador)
  • Performance Through People (Principal training provider)
  • Walsall Council - Black Country (Local authority representative)
  • IKEA Birmingham - (Campaign ambassador)
  • Associates


Youth unemployment remains an issue for the region with the claimant rate still much higher than the national average. Their biggest obstacle is lack of work experience and an apprenticeship provides the ideal sustainable start for a young person seeking that first rung on the ladder.


Launch: The campaign will formally be launched on the 18th September 2014 at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce’s annual Exhibition. The Vine will be facilitating monthly employer and apprentice engagement events throughout the campaign.