Hampshire County Council is flying the flag for apprenticeships next week – quite literally.
Two apprentices from the County Council will join councillors including Executive Member for Education and Skills, Human Resources and Performance, Councillor Stephen Reid, to raise an apprenticeships flag over the County Council’s headquarters in Winchester. The ceremony, on Monday 4 March 2019, marks the start of National Apprenticeship Week.
Councillor Reid said:
As one of the biggest employers in Hampshire, with a huge job to do delivering services, we need a highly skilled and efficient workforce. Apprenticeships have become central to the professional development of our staff and will be even more so in the future. Staff at all levels and ages are encouraged to consider this type of ‘on the job’ training and this has been taken up enthusiastically – more than 475 County Council and schools’ staff have signed up to our apprenticeships since May 2017.
While training as apprentices, staff continue in their usual jobs, with time allowed to attend a training centre, college or university. Apprenticeships are offered in a wide range of accredited subjects and at all levels – from GCSE up to Level 7 (postgraduate). The County Council is planning to expand its number of degree apprenticeships over the next year.
Apprenticeship training for County Council staff is funded by the Apprenticeship Levy – a 0.5 per cent fee required by central government from all employers with an annual wage bill of more than £3 million. The Levy can be used for apprenticeship training only.
Hampshire County Council also supports businesses in their own apprenticeship programmes through its involvement in the Solent Apprenticeship Hub, which offers impartial advice to businesses to help them develop their workforce and improve productivity. The Hub is a partnership of local authorities and training providers in the region and was recently awarded £1 million from the European Union’s Structural and Investment Fund to raise the profile of Apprenticeships as a vital part of the local economy.
Councillor Reid added:
We recognise the commitment of businesses across the county to invest in the development of their workforce through apprenticeships and training, and we are pleased to offer our expertise in delivering apprenticeships and are working with training providers to support that. These programmes result in qualifications that are valuable to both employers as well as employees and are helping to ensure the county’s workforce is fit for business for years to come.
Photo: Councillor Stephen Reid (centre) with Hampshire County Council apprentices Elizabeth Gilbert and Ian Hurford.