Celebrating Apprentice Week 2021

Cllr Ray GoodingMy name is Councillor Ray Gooding and I am the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills. I was pleased to be asked to deliver this week’s guest blog to talk about Apprenticeship Week.

Last week (8-15 February) was Apprenticeship Week which celebrates the importance of apprentices both for the employer and apprentices. Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, it was fantastic to see so many organisations across the county running online events and webinars.

Having started my own career as an Apprentice Design Engineer, I am strong advocate for apprenticeships. It provided me with a professional skill that has lasted throughout a career where I ended as the senior partner in an engineering consultancy. High quality apprenticeships provide people not only the opportunity to acquire a skill or profession that will stand them well in the workplace, but that will strengthen the Essex economy with the availability of a qualified workforce. At Essex County Council we have set ourselves a target to take on 50 apprentices. These are new employees, not existing apprentices.

Over the past week it has been an absolute pleasure to hear from some of the apprentices currently on our Essex County Council programme. They have told us about the positive impact they have had on the organisation as well as the invaluable experience they have gained on the job and through the learning opportunities.

As well as our own apprentice programme, we have been working hard to increase the number of apprenticeships across the county. One of the initiatives that we have developed is the Essex Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Service. The service is free of charge and helps levy-paying businesses to donate unspent levy to support the apprenticeship training costs for smaller businesses. The service allows organisations to set the criteria for an apprenticeship they would like to fund and the website (plus our experienced team) will help find suitable matches.

If you have a small business which you are interested in expanding through an apprenticeship, or you are levy-paying business with levy which would otherwise go to waste, then I’d strongly encourage you to get in touch.

Visit the Essex Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Service website for more detail.