The public sector apprenticeship target was introduced in 2017. Public sector bodies with 250 or more staff in England have a target to employ an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as an apprentice annually over the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021. The Council is required to submit to the Department of Education an annual return detailing our progress towards the target.

Return section 1 – data publication - apprenticeships

The Data Publication includes data which will enable the Government, the public and wider stakeholders to understand the Council’s headcount and the number of apprentices they employ. This information will then be used to assess the progress the Council has made to meet the target.

Reporting period – 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020

  • Figure A
    The number of employees with the Council and Schools (Levy Paying) whose employment was in England at the beginning of the reporting period as at 1 April 2019 - 4417.

  • Figure B
    The number of apprentices who began to work for the Council and Schools (Levy Paying) in that period and whose apprenticeship agreements also began in that period - up to 31 March 2020 – 117.

  • Figure C
    The number of employees employed in England that the Council has at the end of the reporting period as at 31 March 2020 - 4455.
  • Figure D
    The number of apprentices who work for the Council at the end of the reporting period - 31 March 2019 - 114.

  • Figure E
    Figure B expressed as a percentage of Figure A - 2.6%.

  • Figure F
    Figure D expressed as a percentage of Figure C – 2.6%.

  • Figure G
    The number of apprentices who worked for the body immediately before the report period – at 31 March 2019 - 134.

  • Figure H
    Headcount on the day before the first day of each reporting period in the target period - at 31 March 2019 - 4417.

  • Figure I
    Figure B expressed as a percentage of Figure H – 2.6%.

This table displays the actual and projected targets of apprentices (based on headcount and not full time employees (FTE)).
1st April 2018 - 31st March 2019 (actual)  114 75 59 134
1st April 2019 - 31st March 2020 (actual) 120 68 49 117

Return section 2 – apprenticeship activity return

The Apprenticeship Activity Return includes both information on the Council’s progress against the target and actions taken and challenges faced, in meeting the targets.

Outline any actions you have taken to help you progress towards meeting the public sector target

Our approach to apprenticeship has continued to be driven through workforce planning in particular services identifying skill gaps and then exploring how an apprenticeship could address this gap through upskilling existing staff or recruiting new employees specifically into apprenticeship roles. Supporting this approach, we have continued to review and revise our apprenticeship offer both for schools and corporately.

The council’s Learning and Development team have worked hard to support schools:

  • providing support, advice and guidance and up-to-date apprenticeship information
  • supporting schools to look at apprenticeships outside of the teaching sector as a way of using the levy to support other roles within a school setting, more schools engaging now teaching apprenticeship standards are being developed.

The Council and Schools now offers variety of apprenticeships at differing levels across a number of sectors including:

  • business administration
  • customer service
  • engineering
  • marketing
  • teaching and learning
  • management and leadership
  • ICT
  • leisure and fitness
  • golf green keeping
  • housing
  • social care
  • surveying.

Tell us about any challenges you have faced in your efforts to meet the target

We are on track to achieve our three year apprenticeship target. We do though face challenges as a result of COVID 19 and our ability to recruit new apprentices into the organisation. Also, at the initial Covid “lock down”, the organisation was focussed on providing community and business support – with a large proportion of the organisation redeployed to deliver this. Another key challenge has been the change from frameworks to standards and the lack of available standards to replace the frameworks e.g. Business Admin Level 2 and Supporting and Teaching Level 2 which are both key entry level posts previously with the Council. As an organisation with a significant proportion of its workforce being part-time – this raises the bar in terms of achieving the target compared to FTE equivalent counts and rates.

How are you planning to ensure you meet the target in future?

We will now continue to grow our programme and we are very confident that we will achieve our future target. School and council services are firmly engaged with the programme and clearly see apprenticeships as an opportunity to develop the skill base of their workforce – underpinned by effective workforce planning. We will continue to work closely with both council services and schools year-on-year to maintain engagement levels and drive forward the utilisation of apprenticeship standards. We will also be developing “career pathways” across the organisation in areas with skills shortage or high turnover which apprenticeships will play a core role in addressing.

Last updated: 30/10/2020 15:55

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