By Cllr Jasbir Anand, Cabinet Member for Business and Community Services
Apprenticeships offer unrivalled on-the-job training that enables people to move into lifelong careers, and this National Apprenticeship Week has been a great opportunity to both celebrate apprenticeships in Ealing and strengthen links with employers to create even more opportunities for local people.
I’m proud to say that we’re well on the way to delivering the 750 new apprenticeship opportunities Ealing Labour pledged in our bold 2018 manifesto – we’ve already hit 50% of that target with over 420 vacancies created so far.
The Tory government’s lack of regulation over how apprenticeships are delivered means that there are big discrepancies in quality and rates of pay for many apprentices. There are increasing reports of unscrupulous employers using the scheme to avoid national minimum wage legislation.
Ealing council pays its apprentices on a graded scale up to the London Living Wage and offers a solid grounding for people entering or returning to work. The candidate preparation programme has a fantastic 90% success rate of supporting people into apprenticeships, jobs and higher education.
This is now the 13th year of the Council’s apprenticeship programme, with around 300 apprentices joining our scheme over the years. Our apprenticeship scheme has a very high retention rate, averaging 95% compared with the national average of 76%.
As part of the package of events organised by the apprenticeship team this week, we’ve launched a membership scheme for apprenticeship employers to help support them in creating even more opportunities for residents – the Work West apprenticeship network employer’s membership scheme – to help us support residents and businesses into creating even more apprenticeship opportunities.
We are always looking to ensure we provide opportunities for everyone in our borough, and I’m particularly proud of our award winning pre-apprenticeship programme Pathways, which provides work experience, guidance and training young people from targeted groups.
As Ealing Labour councillors, we must do what we can to protect Ealing from five more years of Tory government. We know that a decent household income can have the single biggest impact on reducing inequality and improving the life chances of our residents. Working to ensure we are creating the right conditions for increasing incomes could transform our Borough in the short term and decrease inequality in the long term.
As the job market changes, we must ensure that our young people have the chance to get ahead in life. Working with our local and regional employers to create new quality apprenticeship opportunities is an important step in ensuring our young people have lifelong careers with decent pay.