Up to 1,000 more young people to be hired by Hampshire County Council
Friday, 15 February 2013
Around one third of all job vacancies advertised by Hampshire County Council on the first steps of its career ladder are to be offered as apprenticeships under a pioneering new programme that will start this year.
The County Council's Cabinet has fully endorsed a scheme to expand the number of young apprentices within its workforce by up to 1,000 over the next five years. Under the Hampshire Youth Investment Programme up to170 apprentices will be recruited each year and another 30 posts in total will be available for young people in care or leaving care as the Leader's Internship Plus scheme pilot is extended.
Apprentices have already worked for the County Council in roles such as mechanics, rangers or teaching assistants, in the countryside, in museums, or in laboratories. Now it is set to expand this to attract more young people aged 16-25 into its workforce and give them support.
The Leader of the County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, put forward the proposals to help more of Hampshire's young people get their feet on the employment ladder by appointing them to permanent, full time jobs in the Council, appropriately supported and rewarded from the outset.
He said it would also give them a chance to be part of a highly successful organisation at the cutting edge of developments in local government and the opportunity to work with skilled staff to help Hampshire residents.
It is anticipated the first cohort of apprentices and interns under the new programme will be recruited in the summer to take up their posts in September. They will be supported with help, training and any further study they may need, perhaps to catch up on essential qualifications they missed in secondary education. There will be three levels of apprenticeship - intermediate, advanced and higher with the higher level seen as an alternative route for college leavers to going to university as it will lead to an equivalent to Foundation Degree or Higher National Certificate or Diploma.
As well as on the job training there will be day or block release to attend training sessions or college courses and all apprentices will have a mentor from within the County Council to support them throughout their apprenticeship.
The Council is also making substantial investment into Future Skills Centres, operated by high quality post-16 training providers and/or colleges, which would support future workforce requirements in Hampshire in priority areas such as health and social care. Hampshire County Council has already put £3million into the Gosport Skills Centre, a centre for engineering and manufacturing advanced skills training on the Daedalus Enterprise Zone site, led by Fareham College and supported by St Vincent College and private sector employers,
Councillor Thornber said: "There are many young people in Hampshire whose prospects are, to say the least, very uncertain and gone are the days when jobs were generally available when you left education. Our apprentices will be the kind of people who want to get on in life, young people who are hard working, keen to learn, enthusiastic and show initiative. They will want to work as part of a team committed to always doing things better. This is an exciting programme that will help us to harness young talent, encourage innovation and help us meet future workforce requirements."
Commenting on the investment in Future Skills Centres, Cllr Thornber said: "Skills shortages must not hold back Hampshire's economy and that's why I'm very pleased that we are working in partnership at Daedalus to ensure that Hampshire people have the right skills to meet the needs of Hampshire's employment market. Not only will it improve opportunities for young people, it should also attract investment and employers to the area which is very good news for economic prosperity."