Council chiefs claim they remain committed to creating apprenticeships – despite admitting the council is “falling short” of its own target.
To set a good example to businesses and encourage them to follow suit, Brighton and Hove City Council announced it would aim to establish 70 work placements for young people from November 2012. But more than a year into its 18-month project, local authority leaders have admitted they are only “half way” to meeting the target.
Admitting that budgets were under pressure, officials added the council had to balance achieving its aim against meeting need for services.
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But Labour councillor Anne Pissaridou said: “It is deeply concerning that the council looks set to fall short of its own apprenticeships target at a time where young people in the city are crying out for these kinds of opportunities.
The Green administration must work harder to create more apprenticeships at the city council for young people.”
The issue will be discussed by councillors on the authority’s children’s and young people committee on Monday.
The most recent figures show the local authority has 27 apprenticeships in place and is recruiting 13 more.
A council spokesman said: “Together with the numbers that we have coming on stream, we’ll have 46 apprentices up and running in April and we’re committed to our goal of 70.
“The important issue here is that we match the future expertise and skills needs of Brighton and Hove City Council with the need to recruit, train and develop local young talent that will help us find innovative ways to deliver the 800 services we provide every day.”
In addition, the council’s website has a separate page on the topic which asks: “Why not follow the council’s lead and see if an apprenticeship scheme would work for your business?”
But the only thing on the page is a message, saying: “The council is currently reviewing its strategy on apprenticeship and this page will be updated shortly.”
In December 2012, The Argus reported that the local authority was advertising for a “Digital Media Apprentice” on £2.65 an hour for a 37 hour week – almost two thirds less than the then living wage of £7.45.
In response, council leader Jason Kitcat said the wage rate for apprenticeships was set by central government.