Mayor needs to get creative to meet apprenticeship targets

05 February 2014

The Mayor’s target to achieve 250,000 apprenticeships in London by 2016 came under question yesterday as the London Assembly’s Economy Committee met with representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses, Trades Union Congress, apprenticeship providers and employers to discuss government policy changes to London’s apprenticeship schemes. The committee also heard from a panel of apprentices training in a range of different industries. The Committee heard how the Mayor and Greater London Authority could do more to boost the number of apprentices in the capital, if they were prepared to encourage more public sector bodies and their contractors to take on apprentices. It was highlighted that only seven per cent of apprenticeships are in the public sector, whilst 20 per cent of London’s work force is employed by the public sector. The Committee heard how employers generally welcome proposed changes to the capital’s apprenticeships policies which would give them more control over training, but that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) were concerned about taking on greater responsibilities for the process. There was also concern expressed about the proposed move from continual assessment towards final exam grading policies for apprentices and new numeracy and literacy requirements, which could exclude many current apprentices. Stephen Knight, Chair of the Economy Committee said, “If the Mayor is to achieve his ambitious target more needs to be done to encourage public sector employers and their contractors to take on apprentices. "It is also clear that SMEs in particular need more help and encouragement to take on apprentices and to see doing so as an opportunity for future business growth." Ends

Notes:

  1. Stephen Knight AM, Chair of the Economy Committee, is available for interview.
  2. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.