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Harrogate Borough Council launches apprenticeship scheme

As well as helping local employers to create 40 new apprenticeships, Harrogate Borough Council will launch its own scheme in January next year.

As one of the district’s largest employers, the council has recently approved a number of measures to enable young people to get into employment.

Councillor Jim Clark, the council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, says the government has made apprenticeships top of the national skills agenda and key to tackling national youth unemployment.

Councillor Clark added:

There has always been an interest and a commitment from our service managers for apprenticeships but funding has often been quoted as a barrier together with the council’s current pay policy for apprentices.

To address this, a budget of £50,000 has been set up to support the council creating apprenticeships, which will include a number of administrative and trade crafts. And to address the issue over pay, we have also agreed to pay apprentices the age related minimum wage.

Local government has the oldest average-aged workforce of any sector and the council’s Chief Executive, Wallace Sampson, says that developing employment initiatives for young people is vital to succession planning to make sure local government can grow specific skills for the future.

Wallace Sampson said:

I got into local government at an early age and my development was helped by asking a Chief Executive to mentor me.

I am therefore pleased that the council has pledged to support young people in this way.

We have always been open to mentoring and work experience and a new programme of 52 work experience placements, covering a diverse number of services, has just been offered to local schools.

We have also had a very successful Internship Scheme with the University of York which will be repeated this year as we take on three more graduates who will work with us on specific projects.

All these initiatives build on the £63,000 grant we received to support the creation of 40 new apprenticeships in small to medium sized businesses in the district.

This funding came from the council’s membership of the Leeds City Region which has secured a total of £4.6 million from the government’s city deal to run a variety of initiatives to boost apprenticeships and generate 2500 additional places in the city region by 2015.

Apprenticeships with Harrogate Borough Council will be advertised on the council’s website and with the National Apprenticeship Service.

Karen Leah has recently been appointed Hub Manager for the North Yorkshire Apprenticeship Hub (covering Craven, Harrogate and Selby) which offers independent information, advice and support on apprenticeships for local businesses and young people.

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