Councils and education providers are set to unite to improve the delivery of apprenticeship training in the east.
A conference organised by the East of England LGA later this month will see representatives from councils across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire invited to collaborate on a strategy for the introduction and implementation of the new apprenticeship levy.
The aim of the event – Blazing a Trail in the East of England – will be to explore opportunities to share resources and learn from each other as well as to establish key messages to be used across the region.
Delegates will be invited to enter a competition to create a slogan for the work - a joint message that can be adapted and tailored to champion separate areas – which will be judged by Cabinet Office representative Felix Cornehl, Senior Adviser in the Implementation Unit.
Lucy Ashwell, senior manager at EELGA said: “We would like to see councils sharing ideas and working together where possible while still focusing on spending the levy money locally.
“Such collaboration will help local councils to increase the number of apprenticeships that are undertaken and help them to make best use of the funding available.”
Ideas to be discussed at the event include how to:
- Collate existing good practice and share that across the region.
- Coordinate collaboration of local councils and explore cross boundary working.
- Continue to coordinate training suppliers to identify and navigate what is available and influence supply.
- Support a working group to look at value for money.
- Help promote “careers in local government” and share approaches with councils to attract apprentices.
- Work with the trade unions.
- Embrace partners outside of local government if these are chosen by local councils for the benefit of their own communities.
Mrs Ashwell said: “We want apprenticeships to support the development of staff in skills shortage areas across the region and we will assist councils to work together to identify common skills gaps and collaborate on solutions.
“This event will help councils to establish a space in which they can learn from one another, share good practice and development opportunities to meet the needs of both learners and employers.
“It will also ensure we spend this valuable money in the most appropriate and cost effective way.”
A typical county council can have as much as £2 million of levy funding available. A district council might have £50,000. This money can be drawn down to pay the providers of apprenticeship training.
Training can be accessed by new starters as well as existing staff who want to branch out through intermediate level apprenticeships, higher level degree apprenticeships and master’s degree apprenticeships.
The goal is for all councils in the region to be offering apprenticeships to their existing workforce with entry level apprenticeships increasing to over 1,000 by 2019.