This week the Executive supported recommendations made by the Education, Skills and Growth Overview and Scrutiny Panel which are intended improve access to apprenticeships. This is the second in-depth report which has been accepted by the Executive from the panel this year.
Investigations conducted by the panel found that during the pandemic, vacancies for apprenticeships reduced by around 25% in Berkshire. The recommendations aim to reduce the barriers faced by businesses in employing apprentices and support prospective employees to undertake an apprenticeship.
As part of the review, panel members spoke to several people who provide apprenticeship courses including Activate learning, The Royal Berkshire Fire Authority and Thames Valley Business Hub. A survey was conducted of schools, local businesses and apprentices currently working at the council. Businesses were positive about apprenticeships and recognised that it was a key tool in upskilling their workforce and apprentices appreciated the opportunity to learn new skills.
The recommendations include the creation of a promotional video to advertise the benefits of apprenticeships and working with local businesses to support them to take advantage of government Apprenticeship Levy Funding.
The Chair of the Education, Skills and Growth panel, Cllr Gill Birch said:
"Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for our residents – they are not just for young people and can be undertaken at any age.
"I was delighted to find that Bracknell Forest Council employs 55 apprentices from post-16 to late 50’s across a wide variety of departments.
"Our recommendations aim to support local businesses and apprentices so they can have a great opportunity to develop themselves."
You can read the full recommendations report on our scrutiny pages.