The County Council has embraced apprenticeships and wishes other employers do likewise. Any businesses new to Apprenticeships can access information and advice from the Apprenticemakers website. West Sussex also offers business to business advice to any employer new to Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are a key way of boosting the local economy, through providing training along side paid work opportunities, providing opportunities for skills development all of which can enhance productivity and increase competitiveness of businesses.
As one of the largest employers in the county, the County Council has an important role to play in leading by example to demonstrate the benefits of apprenticeships to a range of stakeholders.
Since 2010 over 300 people have studied an apprenticeship programme whilst employed by the County Council, we offer a diverse range of Apprenticeships such as Care, HR, Legal, Engineering. Apprenticeships are really helping us to develop our business, Apprentices bring fresh ideas and help us experience new technology to the organisation. 85% of those who completed their apprenticeship have moved into paid employment helping to evidence apprenticeships work and give real economic benefit. As the County Council’s workforce size shrinks and our service provision is outsourced, the impact of the County Council’s apprenticeship programme reduces. It is therefore important, as we commission services, to realistically build apprenticeships and employment and skills initiatives into contractual requirements in order we can maintain the benefit apprenticeships can bring to the local economy.
View our WSCC Apprenticeship pages where you can find out information and view all the latest West Sussex Apprenticeship vacancies. Watch our video 'County Council apprentices find gateway to work'
We currently have 58 apprentices working in WSCC or Schools, the breakdown of which is:
18 Apprenticeship contracts
9 Permanent contracts
31 School contracts
Apprenticeship Report (Feb 18)
We continue to increase the number of apprenticeships taken up across our Corporate Services and our Schools (an increase of 15 over the previous month and an 25% increase on January 2017) We are using a number of campaigning tools to incite interest, raise awareness, bust some myths and increase take up, for example hosting an information session to promote the new Teaching post graduate degree apprenticeship, attending Senior Leadership Team Meetings, Head Teacher and Business Manager Briefings and running a series of roadshows around the County for our employees and managers.
We have also been sourcing providers to deliver our apprenticeship requirements and ensuring they are signed up to our Dynamic Purchasing System and able to deliver our requirements.
We are still waiting for key apprenticeships to be finalised that are of particular interest to us as a Local Authority and these are:
Social Work degree
Occupational Therapy degree
Civil Engineering Level 4
The Senior Strategic Leaders (MBA) Level 7 Masters level degree has very recently been approved and we are now waiting for university providers to give us dates of when they will be ready to deliver.
We continue to have challenges associated with bringing in the new apprenticeship arrangements – including some of the key new apprenticeship standards not yet being available (see above), the funding crisis in our schools, procurement timelines and the need for managers to release their apprentices for 20% off the job training.
Quarter 3 December 2017
Apprenticeship Report (Oct17-Jan18)
In April 2017 the Government introduced a number of apprenticeship reforms as part of its ambition to create an additional 3 million apprenticeship starts in England, by 2020, and in doing so, develop vocational skills, increasing the quantity and quality of the apprenticeship experience.West Sussex County Council has been transitioning over to the new apprenticeship arrangements which mean that public sector bodies can now plan and fund apprenticeship qualifications for their staff ranging from level 2 (equivalent to GCSE level) qualifications right up to degree and masters level apprenticeships.
A number of new Apprenticeship Standards are being developed which will provide greater opportunities for public sector apprentices when they come on-stream. Several of these standards will be very important in filling skills shortages within the Council in many occupational skills shortage areas such as Teachers, Occupational Therapists, Civil Engineers and Social Workers to name but a few. The development of these standards has had much greater involvement from employers who have been actively involved in developing the new apprenticeship standard qualifications.
We have continued our apprentices from the 2016/2017 from the old framework and have also signed up a number of apprentices under the new arrangements in areas such as business administration, assistant accountancy, project management, fire vehicle maintenance and town planning. As the new Apprenticeship Standards,which are still in development, become approved, we are confident that many more staff and new apprentices will be able to take up further opportunities over the coming year. These will contribute to the professionalization and upskilling of our workforce enabling and supporting them to continuously develop and improve the delivery of effective services to our local community.
Under the new apprenticeship reforms the Council’s target for apprentices has changed. As a public sector body we are required to deliver circa 360 apprentices per annum across our organisation.
Challenges associated with bringing in the new arrangements – including some of the key new apprenticeship standards not yet being available, the funding crisis in our schools, procurement timelines and the need for managers to release their apprentices for 20% off the job training mean that we have a way to go to meet our target but we anticipate a rise in the uptake of training over the course of 2018/2019 as more new Standards are approved which we can actively use.
In preparation for these developments the Learning & Development Commissioning team:
- Have met with all Directors to brief them and their managers of the opportunities that are or will become available for their directorates
- Have identified apprenticeship training opportunities for each directorate
- Have met with all Schools and a number of Boards of Governors
- Identified appropriate training opportunities for Schools
- Provided information to directorate He Consultants in order for workforce planning to take place that encompasses the take up of apprenticeship training
- Are working with Communications & Engagement to develop a promotional campaign for all staff and managers so the training offer reaches everyone.
Quarter 2 - September 2017
This quarters figures plummeted in July and August and subsequently grew in September to their highest level for almost a year. They are yet to rise further as the year progresses and it is extremely likely this measure will be met throughout the year. The County Council has been procuring Apprenticeship Training providers in order to spend its new Apprenticeship Levy fund for Apprenticeship training and this new way of investment is having a positive impact on our take up of apprenticeships. The fund can be used to pay for apprenticeship training for existing employees which should see a rise in the number of existing employees in both council and school services who study a professional qualification using this route. More apprenticeship training pathways are being developed and becoming available to employers which will also help us to grow our apprenticeship offer in both schools and corporate. An Officer has been designated to work with schools for a year to encourage their engagement with apprenticeships which aims to see an increase in the number of Apprentices working for them.
Quarter 1 - June 2017
(The county figures, national data not available for the current quarter but will be available in September - quarter 2)
The county council’s Apprenticeship numbers have remained steady for this quarter and are as we expected with little change/ growth. The County Council has been focused on its preparation for the apprenticeship levy go live. These preparations include the set-up of a new procurement system for apprenticeship training and a new staff structure to support apprenticeships into the future. The structure this include a role dedicated to supporting schools in the county as the area who employ the largest percentage of our workforce. The new procurement system went live at the end of June and we have started to submit tenders for apprenticeship training providers to deliver the qualifications we require. We will bring news on the results of this exercise in the next quarter when it is hoped our Apprentice numbers are starting to increase.
Apprenticeship starts in the county has increased this year and now exceed the peak of 2012/13 when we achieved 5,610 starts. The following two years were well below this level. Chichester District Council has had the most significant increase in starts and up some 16.5% on last year. Worthing has seen a significant decrease with 50 starts less than they achieved in 2014/15. We have spoken with the District Council so they are aware of this and considering ways of influencing this pattern in the future.
The Apprenticeship levy will be live from May 2017 providing a new system and ways of employers and learning providers accessing funding for their Apprenticeship training. This may mean uncertainty as employers learn and adapt to the new system which may impact on the start numbers next year. However the longer term intention is to increase the number of Apprentices in the county and the County Council and our District and Borough partners will be mindful of how we could support and communicate with employers to help encourage their engagement.