Southwark is streets ahead when it comes to creating apprenticeships, as part of our wider agenda to make sure every Southwark resident can fulfil their potential and benefit from the jobs and opportunities we are creating. We have an ambitious target to help 2,000 people into apprenticeships over four years. We are well on the way to achieving this target, having already supported the creation of over 1200 apprenticeships.
We offer free business support for all Southwark small and medium size businesses, and large employers that are new to apprenticeships. The service is tailored to fit the employer’s needs, whether that means help writing a job description, advice on which training provider to use, or support in recruiting and settling in their apprentice. And we are not just about numbers - our apprenticeship standard sets out what we expect from an apprenticeship, including a minimum 12 months contract, payment of the London Living Wage, quality training provision and mentoring and support.
Southwark’s targeted pre-apprenticeship service works with residents who are ready to take on an apprentice, whether for an entry-level or higher grade role. The service works with employers to ensure the we equip apprentices to meet organisational requirements.
We have also responded to, and taken advantage of, the volume of construction work that has taken place through the council’s regeneration programmes, investing in a new Construction Skills Centre at the Elephant and Castle to provide the high quality skills tuition the sector needs.
Southwark’s SEEDS programme, supporting young people into Living Wage employment, is just one of the ways we are creating apprenticeships with local employers. The programme offers small employers a wage subsidy, helping those employers to offer a London Living Wage apprenticeship or job to a local young person looking for an opportunity. The programme provides help recruiting and mentoring the apprentice to make sure even the most vulnerable residents can benefit from opportunities in the borough.
We also build apprenticeship targets into key council contracts. Last year contractors took on a large number of new apprentices across administration, IT, customer support and technical roles. Southwark was responsible for 41% of the 2,052 apprenticeships created by London boroughs in this way between April 2016 and March 2017.
In Southwark, apprentices add value to organisations by working in a diverse range of exciting roles. For example, there are currently apprentices in management consultancy, business support for international relations, rapid response units, regulatory services, civil engineering, restaurants, urban gardening, and banking.