National Apprenticeship Week set to hit Hackney

This week is all about raising awareness for apprenticeships schemes and the benefits for a variety of people. Pic: GDS (Flickr)

The people and small businesses in Hackney are all raring to go this National Apprenticeship Week, with many new initiatives and opportunities coming up for young people to get involved with.

A new initiative, called Hackney: Apprentices by Hackney Council, proposes to get 100 new apprentices working for the council by 2019. The scheme will provide many young people with new and exciting opportunities that they may not have been offered before.

The programme is open to 16-24 year olds, at all academic levels, that have grown up and been educated in Hackney and the local area. All Council apprentices aged over 18 will be paid around £19,000 per year, which is above the London Living Wage, and well above the average apprenticeship salary which is around £13,000 per year.

However, it is not just the council that are getting involved, as many small businesses are prepared to do their bit to give the local apprentices their chance to shine.

Blue Engineering in Shoreditch have flourished as a company, due to their acceptance of apprentices over recent years. Now almost half of their staff are made up of past and present trainees.

James Nevin, a partner at Blue Engineering, told London Live News: “Apprenticeships provide a valuable pipeline to a constant stream of fresh talent. At Blue Engineering we place emphasis on creative, solution-oriented thinking.

“Apprentices are not stuck in their ways – they bring new ideas and their own ambitions to the business environment. Hiring apprentices is integral to our growth strategy and ensures that we’re constantly at the forefront of innovation in structural engineering.”

The Department of Education say they are concerned about negative perceptions toward apprenticeships, for example being badly paid or taken advantage of. For this reason, they have begun a recent campaign with funding available to pay salaries for ‘paid learning’, aiming to challenge these opinions.

Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers, although they are more popularly branded this way, but can also be used for progression in a career.

Alex Ball, commercial director at Capita Apprenticeships, told Eastlondonlines: “There is a clear divide between these apprenticeship types. People that have been in a position for a number of years that are then told they have to become an apprentice may feel apprehensive because these are often branded as entry-level positions.

“This is where the negative stigma comes in. However, they are useful in many ways, and allow people to progress further. It is important people are talking about apprenticeships this week, to know about all the benefits.”

New statistics have also been released by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), suggesting that apprenticeships make great business sense. 76 per cent of employers who take on apprentices agree that they make the workplace more productive and 77 per cent say they make them more competitive (CEBR, 2017).

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