Rochdale Council is a leading example of successful apprenticeship schemes, with nearly 90 per cent of its trainees securing jobs once they have finished their instruction.
Rochdale Online reported that 28 new apprentices have started working for the local authority, which is the highest intake of council apprentices on records.
They are in a good position to complete their apprenticeship programme and get a job, as the majority of students who have been apprentices at the council have gone on to secure permanent positions, whether within the local authority or with another employer.
Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for economy and communications, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer more opportunities as we move into our Covid-19 recovery phase.”
He added: “It’s a very challenging time for the economy and the jobs market but we’re delighted to be able to offer these opportunities, futureproof the workforce and boost the local economy.”
Among the new apprentices are 20 new teaching assistant trainees and three people joining the council’s adult care team, as well as those working in youth justice participation, business rates, parks project management, digital marketing and ICT operations.
Speaking with the news provider, Fabil Syeda, who is about to begin an apprenticeship in ICT operations business admin with the council, said she is looking forward to the programme commencing.
“It’s nice to join with so many others, there’s a nice buzz and everyone at the council has been so welcoming,” she stated.
Rochdale Council is considered one of the top 100 apprentice employers in the UK, together with some of the country’s largest employers, including HMRC, M&S, Sainsbury’s and The British Army.
Therefore, Ms Syeda is confident her apprenticeship will be a good starting block for her career, adding: “I know how well people do on the council’s apprenticeship programme and I’m really looking forward to the many opportunities coming my way.”
Over the last five years, more than 200 apprentices who have gone through the council’s programme have been recruited.
The authority is particularly keen on helping local residents, with 80 per cent of this year’s recruits living in the borough and 82 per cent having attended school there.
Currently, there are 70 apprentices working at Rochdale Council or within its schools, and it is looking to offer more trainee positions from January 2022.
The scheme is not just for school-leavers, with nearly half of the apprentices being 18 or over and 22 per cent being older than 25.
Councillor Elsie Wraighte, deputy cabinet member for children’s services and education, praised Rochdale’s programme, saying: “We are really proud of our successful apprenticeship programme and it’s always great to see more and more people take up roles with us.”
She added: “An apprenticeship is a really great entry into a variety of careers and gives people a real chance to earn and learn.”
This news comes despite recent findings showing the pandemic led to a significant drop in apprenticeship numbers across the country.
According to the Lancashire Evening Post, there was a 20 per cent decline in apprentices in the north, falling from 45,700 between August 2018 and April 2019 to 36,500 between August 2020 and April 2021.
National chairman of the Federation of Small Business Mike Cherry told the news provider: “While the pandemic has understandably had a dampening effect on training efforts, the annual fall in apprenticeship starts is nevertheless very concerning against a backdrop of chronic skills shortages.”
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