Liberal Democrat Sutton Council has set up a website to connect people looking for a new career with businesses that offer apprenticeship places and on-the-job learning.
The Sutton Apprenticeship Hub (http://getaheadsutton.org) will be fully operational next month, but is currently live for young people to register interest and availability in becoming an apprentice and for businesses to register opportunities. Parents and teachers are also able to register their interest on behalf of their children and schools.
Sutton Council is one of London’s leading employers of apprentices, with 22, and is urging businesses to sign up and reap the benefits of energy, enthusiasm and skills that apprentices bring.
Two of Sutton Council’s apprentices have won the council’s own Outstanding Customer Service Award.
The Sutton Apprenticeship Hub has been set up by the council’s economic development arm, Opportunity Sutton, to support young people. It will provide information and advice for young people looking for an alternative to university, explain the benefits of gaining skills in a workplace setting and the higher-level training opportunities that are available.
Sutton already has one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in London with only 3.6% of 16 to 18 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET), as recorded at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. The rate is half the national average, which in August was 7.5%.
Cllr Jayne McCoy, Lib Dem Chair of Sutton Councils’ Housing, Economy and Business Committee, said: “We have an excellent track record for helping young people into employment and we want to build on that with the Sutton Apprenticeship Hub.
“Apprentices are great for business and for the future prospects of our residents. By matching business with apprentices through our new website, we can set people on the track to a new career.
“Sutton Council benefits greatly from the 22 apprentices we employ. Business should come forward and register on the website if they are interested in building a committed, skilled and dedicated workforce.”
Sutton businesses do not need to look far to see how effective apprenticeships can be. Tom Dalton, aged 22, Housing Information and Assessment Assistant at Sutton Council, and Dale Parsons, Access and Procurement Apprentice, have both won the council’s Outstanding Customer Service Award this year.
Tom, from Sutton, left school at 16 but could not find a job after completing a college course in creative digital media. His luck changed two years ago when he saw an advertisement for apprenticeships on the council’s website.
He said: “Working as an apprentice at Sutton Council has given me a fantastic start to my career. I have gained a lot of valuable hands-on experience and I am learning a useful trade. Not only am I developing new skills and knowledge while undergoing training but I am also getting paid for it.
“Winning Sutton Council’s Outstanding Customer Service Award with Dale earlier this year was such a boost and endorsement to my career. Sutton Council has given me the opportunity to get on the first rung of my career ladder.”