Apprentices suggest ways to improve apprenticeship programmes

08 January 2014

Stephen Knight, Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, will today work alongside catering apprentices to launch a new investigation into apprenticeships in London, and learn first-hand what they can offer London’s workforce.

Today’s visit will begin the Committee’s examination of how apprenticeships are developed and managed, and what value they can bring to the capital’s workers and economy.

As part of the investigation, Committee Members are keen to hear from apprentices across London [1]. Stephen Knight will kick-start the investigation by speaking to apprentices working at Brigade about their experiences as apprentices and how the not-for-profit organisation Beyond Food[2], partnered with Brigade and Babcock training providers, give some Londoner’s a fresh start through their apprenticeship programme - United Kitchen.

The Mayor has set a target of 250,000 apprenticeships [3] to start in London by 2016; so far around 110,000 have been delivered. The Committee will look at why there are relatively fewer apprentices in the capital compared to the rest of the UK [4], whether the schemes on offer are effective and what more could be done by the Mayor and the GLA.

The investigation will look at the potential effect of major government changes to programmes, [5] which are being introduced to apprenticeship programmes over the coming year, including greater involvement from employers in design and delivery, and a more substantial role for the London Enterprise Panel in directing skills funding in the capital to increase uptake.

Stephen Knight AM, Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, said: “Apprenticeships can bring real value to employees and employers, yet there are fewer on offer in the capital than elsewhere in the UK."

“London has a huge pool of talent and potential with its large and diverse population. We need to make sure this is not going to waste and people are being trained in skills our economy needs.

“We will look at whether the Mayor and others could do more to bring numbers up closer to the UK average. We also want to know if the apprenticeship schemes on offer in London are effective in supporting people into work and what impact the planned Government changes could have.”

Simon Boyle, founder of Beyond Food and Brigade Restaurant, said:

“During my time as a professional chef, I have worked with some talented apprentices who before given the chance would not have gone on to retain employment due to lack of experience or confidence.

“Across London there are many apprenticeship programmes and we welcome the London Assembly’s investigation so more support can be offered to people who are looking for a fresh start.”

Media are invited to attend, but space is limited – please contact Alice Andrewartha on 020 7983 4603 before close of play on Tuesday 7 January 2014 to RSVP or to arrange an interview.

Notes:

To provide comments on experience as an apprentice or about an apprenticeship scheme, contact the London Assembly Economy Committee at [email protected]

Together with the Beyond Food Foundation, Brigade offers vulnerable people catering apprenticeships, giving them the opportunity for a brighter future.

Apprenticeships offer a job with training so people over the age of 16 can earn while they study for recognised qualifications. They take between one and four years to complete and cover 1,500 job roles in a wide range of industries.

0.9 per cent of London jobs are apprenticeships, compared to 2.1 per cent of jobs being apprenticeships within the UK.

Apprenticeships are currently governed and delivered through a complex national, regional and local framework involving the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Education, the Sector Skills Councils, Issuing Authorities and the National Apprenticeship Service. In November 2012, the Government published the Richards Review which recommended giving employers more control over the type of schemes offered and the level of qualifications participants receive.

Stephen Knight AM, Chair of the Economy Committee, is available for interview. See contact details below.

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.