Monday, November 21, 2011

Liverpool Apprenticeships

I wanted to share this update with you about the creation of apprenticeships by Liverpool City Council's Labour Administration. It is simply wonderful news!

What follows is information from Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet member for Employment, Enterprise and Skills and was a response to a question asked by a LibDem councillor who was querying the Labour council's record.

I wanted to clarify the number of apprentices Liverpool's Labour administration has helped create since taking control of the City Council in May 2010.

Before detailing the numbers, I want to explain where we are coming from on this. We want to focus on high quality Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships, aimed especially at 16-19 year olds and in sectors that do not have a high take up rate of apprenticeships and are priority areas in the city - especially the low carbon economy, visitor economy and creative industries. At a time when the government is encouraging cities like Liverpool to rebalance its economy in favour of the private sector, it's important that we don't limit our efforts just to the City Council and the public sector, as opportunities here will be limited because of spending cuts. Having said that, we have - as an employer - led by example and created 80 apprenticeships starts at the City Council and encouraged our joint venture partners to do the same.

It's also worth clarifying what the government's role has been on this. Government funding only covers the training element of an apprenticeship - it doesn't cover the wage costs, which has to be met in full by the employer. In cities like Liverpool there's significant market failure, which the government hasn't addressed, so we've had to, by funding incentive payments to employers, publishing apprenticeships to young people (a recent survey by the Association of Colleges found that only 7% of 14 year olds knew what an apprenticeship was) and making it easy for SMEs to recruit employers through the Liverpool Apprenticeship CIC.

I believe there was a real lack of political will to make a difference on apprenticeships under the previous Lib Dem administration.

When we took control of the City Council in May 2010, the LibDem administration had created only 7 apprenticeship opportunities. We pledged that we'd create 100 apprenticeships in our first year, but we've managed to beat that. Since May 2010, through a range of initiatives, we've already directly helped create 635 apprenticeship starts. These would simply have not have happened if it wasn't for this administration. Here's a full breakdown. I've met many of these apprentices and have seen first hand what a fantastic job they are doing.

250 - in the hotel sector through the De Vere Academy (funded through a set up grant by Liverpool City Council)

133 - in a range of private sector companies through a business grant scheme (funded by Liverpool City Council)

100 - young apprentices through the Merseyside Apprenticeship Programme (funded by Liverpool City Council through the European Social Fund)

80 -  at Liverpool City Council

28  - at Liverpool Mutual Homes

24 - at Enterprise, the council's highways, street scene and refuse partner

20 - at Glendale, the council's parks maintenance partner

A few weeks ago we announced the start of the Liverpool Apprentice CIC. This is a £1.2m project, again mainly funded by the City Council, which will see the creation of 1,300 new apprenticeships across the city over the next 3 years. This is a joint venture with Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, which represents 1,700 businesses in the city, Liverpool Community College and the Eldonian Group.

During the course of the apprenticeship, all apprentices will be paid the full national minimum wage rate and not the £95/week apprenticeship wage.

Once the CIC is up and running, we'll have created a total of nearly 2,000 apprenticeships in our first 4 years of running the City Council.

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