The Strategic Lead – HR,
Resourcing & Improvement introduced the report and explained
that it showed the progression of the apprenticeship strategy now
it was entering its third year, and the impact it was having. She
stated that the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) target had been
exceeded in 2018/19 with 60 new apprenticeships, which had been an
increase since 2017/18. She commented that the KPI target for
2019/20 was to have 59 new apprenticeships, and this figure had
been based on 2.3% of the current workforce headcount. She
commented that the good work of apprenticeships had been recognised
at this year’s Staff Awards. The Strategic Lead – HR,
Resourcing and Improvement then detailed the introduction of the
annual Apprenticeships Recruitment Day and described how in 2018,
15 new starters had been recruited through this, and in 2019, over
25 offers had been made. She also drew Members attention to
Appendix 1 of the report, which was a breakdown of the 60 new
starters in 2018/19, describing how 50% were up-skilling within the
Council, and 50% were new apprentices. She felt that the
apprenticeships being offered were diverse across subject and
level. She summarised and stated that the council were committed to
retention of apprenticeships, with 50% of the 2017/18 being
retained, and 6 permanent roles offered for the 2018/19 cohort so
The Chair welcomed the report and felt it was positive. He asked if the retention rate for apprentices was aspirational enough, and if the council could create roles for apprentices when their apprenticeships ended. He also asked a question on the source of apprentices, as he felt it would be good to see more apprentices coming into the council from outside the current workforce. The Strategic Lead – HR, Resourcing and Improvement replied that 50% was a good retention rate, but those that did not stay at the council often took other roles within the borough. She added that the council wanted to see apprentices fulfil their career aspirations wherever they maybe, although the council offered a good support package and therefore had a good completion rate. She added that the council had embedded Directorate ‘Apprentice Champions’ to ensure apprenticeships were offered across the whole council, and described the success of the Apprentice Recruitment Day. She stated that the 50% of apprentices that were classed as up-skilling within the council also included those new-starters that had completed their first apprenticeships and were moving up a level.
The Chair drew the Committee’s attention to page 16, point 3.7 and asked how the levy funding to small/medium enterprises (SMEs) would work. The Strategic Lead – HR, Resourcing and Improvement answered that this was a new priority, which was in the early phase of scoping. The Director HR, OD and Transformation added that this was a project that was being looked at regionally and nationally, although Thurrock Council was spending a good proportion of its levy, but would assist local SMEs if the opportunity arose. She stated that the council were identifying new apprenticeships to support the workforce challenges in the council, such as social workers.
Councillor Duffin felt that this report was very positive and included good detail on the direction apprenticeships were travelling. He felt that parents were currently more in favour of their children taking up apprenticeships than going to university. Councillor Jefferies added that he felt the report was also positive, but asked if the figure of 50% apprentices retained included people who had worked for the council before their apprenticeship started. The Strategic Lead – HR, Resourcing and Improvement replied that this was not the case, and the figure only included new starters that had been retained.
1. The Committee noted and commented upon the progress made in the areas detailed in this report.
2. The Committee noted and supported the priority areas identified as key to continued success in Year 3 as detailed in 3.17 of this report.