During National Apprenticeship Week, from 4 to 8 March 2019, Bradford Council is officially celebrating its 300th apprentice since the launch of the government’s apprenticeship scheme almost two years ago.

Over the last two years, the council’s learning and development academy team has worked with managers, staff, recruitment colleagues and schools to develop more apprenticeship roles within the organisation.

The council can now celebrate supporting 300 people to gain a qualification through its apprenticeship scheme since May 2017, when the apprentice levy was introduced. This includes recruiting new apprentices and up-skilling existing staff, to develop people’s potential for their future of employment.

Apprenticeships are a growing option for people to earn while they learn – an attractive prospect for many – and, as Bradford Council recognises, a vital entry route to gaining skills and behaviours required in the professional sector.

Most organisations with 250 or more staff in England, including Bradford Council, have a target to employ an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as new apprentice starts over the period of 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021.

Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, said: “We’re very proud that in National Apprenticeship Week 2019, we’re celebrating the 300th person to complete or be taking part in an apprenticeship at the Council.  An apprenticeship can offer young people a pathway into a high quality job as well as bringing benefits to the businesses they work in. As well as learning about work, young people can get paid and develop important skills that local employers need.”

Tina Lafferty, Head of Workforce Development at Bradford Council, said: “Our use of relevant apprenticeships to develop the skills and capabilities of existing staff is paramount to retaining and building future talent and to carrying out succession planning.

“We see the increasing range of apprenticeship standards available as a golden opportunity to help grow our own talent and develop a workforce from our local communities. Additionally, the fact that apprenticeships are now available at levels two (equivalent to GCSEs) to seven (masters level qualifications) shows the broad range of opportunities available to our services and the Council as a whole.”

The council’s 300th apprentice, has been named as Dan Ellis, Project Analyst Apprentice in the IT Planning and Finance Department. Dan said: “My apprenticeship qualification is a Level 4 in associate project management, which is a similar level to undergraduate/ foundation degree study. This really shows that an apprenticeship can give you the same level of learning that university can, but while offering work experience as well.

“Before I started my apprenticeship I worked for four years at a utility company doing a variety of roles from customer services to complaints work. Project management was something that I was very interested in while I worked there, and I had opportunities to conduct some analyst work, however If I’d tried to move into a project role at that time I would have struggled because of my lack of qualifications in that area.

“This apprenticeship has really allowed me to take the first step to progress my career and will be the start of a long journey in project management, which I don’t think I could have got to without this opportunity.”

To find out more about apprenticeships at Bradford Council, including advice for parents and employers, please search for apprenticeships on Bradford Council’s website.