Lewisham Council has launched a new fund worth £90,000 a year to create more apprenticeships within the borough.
The Apprenticeship and Workforce Development Fund is aimed to help locally based employers invest in producing more apprenticeships.
Lewisham Council hopes that this will help create a more inclusive economy and more job opportunities for its residents.
The scheme was first announced by Councilor Joe Dromey, the Lewisham Cabinet member responsible for jobs and skills, during National Apprenticeship Week that took place between March 5 and March 9 this year.
Created from unspent levies, the funds have now been added to the borough’s annual apprenticeship budget.
Local small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) based in Lewisham will now have a chance to train new apprentices or to retrain existing workers by applying directly to the Lewisham Council’s Apprenticeship Team.
To do so, they must meet several criteria, including paying the new apprentices at least the National Minimum Wage for employees aged 21 and over, currently £7.70 per hour.
Dromey said: “We want to help more local residents to access high-quality apprenticeships, and we want to support more local employers to invest in the skills of their workforce.”
“We are committed to building an economy that works for the many, and apprenticeships are a vital part of this.”
Apprenticeships are jobs with training that allow trainees to combine work and study by giving them the opportunity to work full-time while typically attending class for one day a week.
At the end of the apprenticeship, workers will be able to receive nationally accredited qualifications that will help them build a further career.
These typically include either GCSE-level qualifications, technical certificates or, in some cases, academic qualifications equivalent to a full Bachelors degree.
A House of Commons 2019 report stated that there has been a fall in the number of apprenticeships starts across England, with 119,100 fewer starts in 2017/18 than in 2016/17.
For more information, please contact the Apprenticeship Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 8314 6452.