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Apprenticeships in London boroughs soar for sixth year in a row

Apprenticeship numbers created by London boroughs has grown for the sixth year in a row, data published today has revealed.

In a statement from London Councils, the group said that over 2,000 new apprentices were hired by boroughs and their supply chains in 2016-17 – taking the total figure created since 2009 up to more than 11,000.

In particular, efforts to buoy apprenticeships in council supply chains were particularly strong, as in this area it rose by 26% compared with last year.

Cllr Peter John OBE, deputy chair of London Councils and Executive member for Business, Skills and Brexit, commented: “It is fantastic news that London boroughs are continuing to fulfil their role as community leaders by creating opportunities for young Londoners from all backgrounds to apply their talents and begin their careers with local government and their partners here in the capital.

“This data shows that boroughs are excelling at helping businesses in their supply chains recruit more apprentices, but they and other employers could do much more if they were able to make better use of the Apprenticeship Levy,” he continued.

“Our success also demonstrates the impact London government can have working together with business to create new apprenticeship opportunities,” Cllr John stated. “That’s why we’re also calling for any unspent Apprenticeship Levy funds generated in the capital to be devolved to London government.”

London Councils explained that central government is allowing employers to transfer 10% of their apprenticeship levy funding to supply chains from April 2018, although the group added that this is not enough, and that government should increase the proportion they can pass on.

It also said that devolving unspent Apprenticeship Levy funds to London government would enable the mayor and the boroughs to increase access to opportunities by underrepresented groups and build capacity with small businesses and identify gaps in apprenticeship standards.

The organisation has also used the new figures to renew its call for a full skills devolution deal to London government, adding that this is the best way to ensure the entire skills system including apprenticeships meet the unique training and employment needs of the capital.

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