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Issue:- 3 May  2012

Knowsley to welcome Tour of Britain’s Merseyside return

THE Tour of Britain will return to Merseyside this September after a 3 year absence, as Knowsley hosts a unique stage finish at the world famous Knowsley Safari Park. Monday, 10 September 2012, will see 100 of the world’s top cyclists racing into Knowsley for a spectacular and unique finish at the famous Safari Park.  "We’re delighted to be a part of this key sporting event.  To be welcoming so many world class sports people here is really exciting and we promise to make this stage of the event really memorable for everyone. We’ve spent millions of pounds creating world class leisure facilities in Knowsley and these sorts of events can really inspire us all to get more involved in sport." said Sheena Ramsey, Chief Executive of Knowsley Council.

The Tour of Britain, Stage 2 will finish in the grounds of Knowsley Safari Park.   "Cycling is a very popular sport in the area and, with the new velodrome at Huyton in mind, Knowsley Safari Park is delighted to work with Knowsley Council to raise further awareness of the sport by hosting a stage finish of the Tour Britain.  However, I suspect the competitors on the day will have other matters on their minds as they sprint past our herd of African elephants!" said Edward Perry, Operations Director. 

Stage 2 begins at Nottingham Castle, before embarking on a 177.8 kilometre route through Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire before the finale to the stage in Knowsley.

Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain Race Director added that:- "Stage 2 will be one of the most iconic stages of this year’s Tour, starting from the beautiful surrounds of Nottingham Castle and finishing at Knowsley Safari Park, it is sure to be one to remember for spectators. We look forward to working with both Knowsley Council and Knowsley Safari Park over the coming months to put on the best possible show for spectators this September."

Sports fans in the North West will be in for a treat this September, as the Knowsley stage finish is 1 of 2 in the region, with Blackpool holding the finale of Stage 4; 2 days later.

The Tour of Britain begins in Suffolk on Sunday 9 September, with Stage 1 taking the race from Ipswich to the Norfolk Showground near Norwich. Following Stage 2 riders head to Scotland, before returning to the North West for Stage 3 from Carlisle to Blackpool.

Stoke-on-Trent, Wales and Devon hold the next 3 days of racing before the race climaxes in Surrey on Sunday 16 September with a challenging stage finishing in Guildford, where the winner of the IG Markets Gold Jersey of race leader will be crowned.

More details on the Knowsley finish to Stage 2 will be announced in the Summer.

For details of The Tour of Britain, go to:-  You can follow The Tour of Britain on Twitter.

Encouraging teenage apprenticeships

EMPLOYERS in Liverpool are set to be offered a subsidy to fund the first 6 months salary for teenage apprentices.  A report to the city council’s Cabinet on Friday, 27 April 2012, is recommending the creation of a Liverpool Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy for up to 700 16 and 17 year olds in the city classed as NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training). The project is aimed at tackling the issue of businesses being reluctant to offer opportunities to young people who lack relevant qualifications or work experience and are struggling in the highly competitive jobs market.  Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills, said:- "We have already helped created well over 600 apprenticeships for the long term unemployed as part of our commitment to tackling worklessness.  This project is aimed at giving opportunities to those young people who haven’t been able to get the skills and experience to be in with a chance of competing for a job. We have to encourage employers to look beyond this and harness the raw potential that exists among many of our teenagers. It is absolutely vital we don’t end up with a lost generation of teenagers who aren’t given the opportunity to achieve their potential."   Businesses supported by the scheme will have to demonstrate a real commitment to providing a long term apprenticeship with real job opportunities at the end of it.   The apprenticeships will be monitored by the city council and Liverpool Futures (the council’s Community Interest Company apprenticeship partner) to make sure the opportunities are of a consistent quality and suitability.  The money will come from a combination of sources including the National Apprenticeship Service, the Youth Contract, the European Social Fund and existing service funding.  The national minimum wage for apprentices aged under 19 is £2.60 per hour.

Mullally rejects contract offers at the Vikings

THE Vikings have confirm that Anthony Mullally has rejected a number of improved and extended contract offers. Anthony’s agent has also expressed his player’s desire to go to the open market to test his value. The Widnes-born forward made his first team debut in 2009 in the 88-0 Challenge Cup-tie victory against Saddleworth Rangers, playing his part in the biggest victory recorded in the club's history. Although this was Anthony's only senior appearance for the Vikings at the time, he did gain further valuable first team exposure during a successful loan spell at Swinton in 2010 where he scored two tries in his six appearances. Mullally also benefitted from a ground-breaking venture by the Vikings when he spent 2011 with the Brisbane Broncos. Upon his return from overseas, the 20 year old was rewarded with an upgraded 1 year deal. Thus far in 2012, Mullally has made 8 substitute appearances for the Vikings. Vikings Director of Rugby Paul Cullen said:- "We are satisfied that all efforts to create a clear pathway to Super League and to improve and extend Anthony’s contract have been maximised. However, we have to respect a player’s wish to seek other offers."

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