Apprenticeships can kick start new careers later in life and aren’t just aimed at young people, London business leaders were told today.
While teenagers can get a foothold on the job market, the schemes can also propel older employees into new opportunities, Westminster Council deputy leader Robert Davis told an audience of employers.
Cllr Davis, who is Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage, urged companies to consider all the possibilities of apprenticeships in a speech to the Victoria Business Improvement District (BID).
He said: “Apprenticeships are fast becoming the key to delivering the workforce that employers need both now and in the future.
“The drive to modernise apprenticeships means that employers are being put at the heart of creating new, industry bespoke apprenticeship standards. “
Around 43,000 jobs are supported within the footprint of the Victoria BID, making it one of the densest commercial areas in central London.
Cllr Davis suggested companies should think of apprenticeships as something that older workers can benefit from.
“It’s not just those people starting out on their career that can benefit”, Westminster’s deputy leader said.
“With the introduction of higher and degree apprenticeships, employers now have the opportunity to train and retain highly qualified and skilled employees.”
Westminster Council has offered 103 apprenticeship opportunities in a variety of services across the organisation, from finance and procurement to children’s services and libraries. Many have gone on to secure permanent roles with the authority.
Cllr Davis told the Victoria business audience: “By making apprenticeships an integral part of your workforce you not only add value to your business; you also help to improve social mobility in our communities and neighbourhoods and deliver opportunities for all.
“In the process, you are creating a more diverse and resilient workforce that is attuned to your cultures and values as an organisation.
“At the City Council we will continue to build on our existing apprenticeship offer and I would encourage any of you seriously considering taking on an apprentice or expanding your current apprenticeship programme to talk to our Business Unit who can advise and assist you.”
Cllr Davis was speaking at the Victoria BID Apprentice/Employer event being held at the Park Plaza Hotel.