Mayor urges firms to boost apprenticeship opportunities for Londoners

07 February 2012

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced today that he is more than half way to hitting his target of creating 100,000 apprenticeships in the capital by the end of 2012.

With National Apprenticeship week underway the Mayor revealed that 54,470 apprenticeships have been created in the capital since July 2010 following a joint campaign with the National Apprenticeship Service.

The campaign was boosted today by the decision from retail giant Westfield to support the creation of 200 apprenticeships at its Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City centres, in areas such as retail and customer service, and facilities management. These will be delivered by the onsite skills academies, Work Zone and The Skills Place.

The Mayor also revealed that Transport for London has delivered 2,209 apprenticeships since April 2009 and is on track to hit its target of 2,550 by the end of this financial year. Rail maintenance firm Tube Lines added to the total after it confirmed it is to hire a further 22 engineering apprentices to work on projects across the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Crossrail, meanwhile, has announced that 14 apprentices are set to start work at its Old Oak Common concrete factory, many of whom have been unemployed for up to 12 months.

Today the Mayor urged businesses to boost their bottom line and create vital employment opportunities in the capital by taking on more young Londoners as apprentices.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “There are thousands of enthusiastic young Londoners who are crying out for the opportunity to become apprentices and we must help them to realise their ambitions. We have had huge success with our campaign so far, but we have to work harder to convince more businesses about why apprentices are such fantastic assets to invest in. A motivated and skilled workforce is essential for the economy’s health and by opening up their doors to apprentices London’s firms can play their part in helping to beat the downturn.”

Michael Gutman, Managing Director for Westfield Europe and New Markets, said: “There are many career pathways and opportunities within Westfield and we are delighted to support the Mayor’s apprenticeships programme as we announce our ambition to see 200 apprenticeships created across our Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City centres during 2012. This specialised training provides apprentices with an excellent, income-earning route to gaining important skills and qualifications as well as benefiting the end-users who hire them.”

London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy CBE, said: “Apprenticeships provide a great way for people to gain the skills they need for a career in many industries, including transport. I know a number of my colleagues started out as apprentices and am sure that our current crop will go on to have great careers.

“Over the last two years, our suppliers have created hundreds of apprenticeship roles and I congratulate them on their apprenticeship programmes, and I’ve recently had the pleasure of meeting a number of these talented young people. Overall, TfL and its suppliers have created over 2,200 apprenticeship opportunities and we are on track to meet our target of 2,550 by the end of this financial year.”

Tim Campbell, the Mayor’s ambassador for training and enterprise, will address around 80 young Londoners at an apprentice fair alongside the Deputy Mayor of London Richard Barnes at the Institute of Directors today.

Tim, who won the first series of the popular BBC show ‘The Apprentice’ and who now runs the Bright Ideas Trust, said: “There is a groundswell of interest from young people who want to become apprentices and we have to encourage businesses to respond. We have seen huge success in boosting the numbers of apprenticeships in London but we know that many small and medium sized companies still need convincing. National Apprenticeship Week is the perfect time for companies to find out everything they need to know.”

Vic Grimes, Divisional Apprenticeship Director - London & the South East at the National Apprenticeship Service said: “The fifth Apprenticeship Week is heralding a new era for Apprenticeships. The government is raising the bar on the calibre of apprentices, the quality of Apprenticeship programmes and the delivery of training. The National Apprenticeship Service in London is delighted that our partnership with the GLA is seeing such encouraging results. This will be a challenging year but as you can see there is no shortage of enthusiasm and support among employers who do have Apprenticeship programmes.“

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