Lewisham council bids to recruit 100 apprentices in 100 days this autumn

By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy

Lewisham council is aiming to recruit 100 apprentices over 100 days starting this autumn.

Mayor and cabinet on Thursday approved a report seeking 510,000 to pay for a training provider for three apprenticeship cohorts over 18 months.

The funds will come from the existing apprenticeship levy pot.

The report said: “Over the last 11 years a total of 570 residents have participated in the programme, working either at the council or in one of our partner organisations.

“Our outcomes continue to be very impressive, with 74 per cent of our apprentices going on into a permanent role and 82 per cent of council apprenticeships progressing into permanent employment.”

Lewisham’s apprenticeship programme was forced to pause recruitment during lockdown, and in order to keep up with targets, the council is proposing to launch a ‘100 in 100 days’ campaign.

The report added: “This campaign aims to achieve commitments to advertise and recruit to 100 apprenticeship job opportunities in 100 days across the borough from August 3 until December 18, 2020.

“We aim to achieve these commitments by working with internal council managers, local schools, our LewishamDeal partners and local employers.

“This is a great opportunity for both council managers and local employers to reduce training and recruitment costs and have access to high-quality training and support, while providing valuable work opportunities to Lewisham residents.”

The council aims to run three groups of up to 20 apprentices in the autumn, in the subjects of data analyst level 4, project management level 4, and leadership and management Level 3.

Cllr Joe Dromey, cabinet member for culture, jobs, and skills, who presented the report to mayor and cabinet, said apprenticeships provide “fantastic opportunities” for both young and older workers.

He said: “Coronavirus is a very significant challenge. We know that nationwide in April the number of apprenticeship starts had fallen by 50 per cent compared to the previous year.

“We also know that the number of starts for young people aged 16 to 18, nationally, had fallen by 75 per cent, and that’s because apprenticeships are not just training opportunities, they’re jobs.”

Cllr Dromey said that in order to take on an apprentice an employer needs to have the confidence in demand for the future because they last a minimum of 12 months.

He said: “We also know that coronavirus makes apprenticeships more important than ever.

“We know that young people in Lewisham are the most at risk of any age group from the coronavirus in terms of employment.

“We also know that long-term youth unemployment can have a scarring impact on young people.

“It leaves their employment rate and earnings permanently lower throughout their life, so we need to do everything we can to avoid and reduce the levels of youth employment.”

The council launched the apprenticeship programme more than 10 years ago in the wake of the 2008 recession.

Pictured top: Lewisham civic centre


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