Government slammed for failing to heed warnings on ‘unrealistic’ apprenticeship targets

PLANS by Government to press ahead with “unrealistic” targets will see London boroughs put under pressure to increase their creation of apprenticeships by more than 570%.

Ministers were today criticised for failing to heed warnings from London Councils by sticking to plans for a new Public Sector Apprenticeship Target, which have been branded unfair.

New public sector targets would see boroughs, which have created 4,834 apprenticeships via direct recruitment since 2009 (an average of 690 per year), put under pressure to deliver 4,674 per year – an increase of 577 per cent.  

As part of its response to a consultation on the proposals last year, London Councils said more realistic targets could be set which would allow councils to count apprenticeships they generate through their supply chains and base the target on the number of full time equivalent workers a council has rather than its headcount.

Concerns were also raised about the inclusion of schools in local authorities’ share of the target, as councils are not responsible for recruitment activities or decisions at these schools. Including school staff in boroughs’ head count increases the target by around 50%.

Cllr Peter John, London Councils’ executive member for business and skills, said: “We’ve made very clear these targets are completely unrealistic, and risks undermining the government’s claimed ambition to create opportunities that benefit employers, apprentices and the economy.

“As we have previously stated, we support the government’s plans to encourage apprentice recruitment, but it is unfair to include school employees in borough workforce headcounts when calculating the apprenticeship target. This doubles the target for councils, yet they cannot influence schools to create more apprenticeships.

“London boroughs have long been committed to increasing apprenticeship starts and opportunities and have a strong track record of supporting – and exceeding – apprenticeship targets.  Imposing unachievable targets in order to shift the blame onto authorities if the government fails to meet its own standards is unfair and unacceptable.”


Notes to editors 

You can read the full London Councils response to the Government consultation here.