The Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Joe Anderson, has hailed the work of the council's partners in driving apprenticeships in Liverpool - and committed Liverpool City Council to creating 500 brand new apprenticeships in the next year.
In a speech to an event organised by Enterprise PLC, Cllr Anderson welcomed the renewed emphasis on apprenticeships across the country.
And speaking of Liverpool Labour's own commitment to providing apprenticeships, Joe congratulated Cllr Nick Small for engineering 133 apprentices last year.
Liverpool Labour made an election pledge in 2010, that if elected to run the city council, it would create 100 new apprenticeships. Since then Cllr Small has set up The Liverpool Apprentice - a Community Interest Company - which has worked with the council's partners to provide a total of 133 new apprenticeships.
Cllr Anderson then set a challenge for the City Council: to create 500 new apprenticeships this year.
In contrast, during their last year in charge of the city between 2009 - 2010, the Liberal Democrats created just 7 apprenticeships.
Cllr Joe Anderson said: "It will probably come as no surprise if I say that I believe in apprenticeships.
"I think we’re seeing something of a resurgence of apprenticeships in this country as people realise that sometimes qualifications alone aren’t enough.
"If you want someone to develop into the skilled workers that a modern business relies on, you also need to help them get real life, hands on experience of doing the job.
"I promised that in my first year in charge, we would create 100 new apprenticeships.
"We have worked with the council’s partners to create 133 brand new apprenticeships.
"In the year to come, we will invest £2million to create 500 new apprenticeships in the city, who will be paid proper wages, and who will receive the best training there is."
Joe also took time to meet students from the Enterprise South Liverpool Academy, who gave a roleplay performance outlining the facilities the new academy will offer.
For the full text of Joe's speech, see below.
Good evening everyone.
Thanks for coming tonight, and welcome to Liverpool Town Hall.
I’d like to take this opportunity to especially thank Enterprise for putting on the event tonight.
Enterprise PLC are a hugely valued partner to the City of Liverpool.
That they’ve decided to put on an event tonight which focuses on apprentices and apprenticeships is proof that not only are Enterprise committed to keeping our streets clean, our bins empty, and our street lights working.
They’re also committed to partnering with us in securing a bright future for tomorrow’s work force by drawing on the expertise of the workforce we employ today.
It will probably come as no surprise to you all if I say that I believe in apprenticeships.
And in fact, I think we’re seeing something of a resurgence of apprenticeships in this country as people realise that sometimes qualifications alone aren’t enough.
If you want someone to develop into the skilled workers that a modern business relies on, you also need to help them get real life, hands on experience of doing the job.
We’re only now coming to realise that the tried and tested formula of using apprenticeships is one that has worked for decades.
So tonight is an opportunity for us to come together to talk about the apprenticeships we can offer.
It is a chance for us to ask how we can provide well structured, sustainable apprenticeships.
But it is also a chance for us to challenge ourselves to be innovative.
That was I’ve done since becoming Leader of the City Council.
In the year before I became Leader of the Council, the city council created just seven apprenticeships.
I didn’t think this was good enough.
So I challenged the council to do better.
I promised that in my first year in charge, we would create 100 new apprenticeships.
I asked Councillor Nick Small to work on keeping this promise.
And Nick has worked with the council’s wonderfully talented Caroline Lodge to develop an innovative Community Interest Company, called The Liverpool Apprentice.
As a result, in our first year in control of the city, we have worked with the council’s partners to create 133 brand new apprenticeships.
That was a brilliant result, and I want to publicly thank Nick and Caroline for the hard work they put in.
And the message from us tonight is: You’ve seen what can be done. So now its over to you.
In the year to come, we will invest £2million to create 500 new apprenticeships in the city.
And I am proud that these will be real apprenticeships, paying the National Minimum Wage as opposed to the lower apprenticeship rate.
These apprenticeships will support Liverpool as we fight to regain our city’s economic growth.
They will help the private sector to drive the economic growth that will see our city grow again.
And we will create apprenticeships which support and sustain the businesses which are leading the way in our city.
In particular, we want to help to generate apprenticeships in the low carbon economy, in the knowledge economy, in the visitor economy, and in the super port.
These are Liverpool’s key growth areas, and our apprenticeship scheme aims to support them wherever possible.
We also want to challenge you tonight to help us move towards the provision of more diverse forms of apprenticeship.
There is an apprenticeship framework which will work for every single trade and every single business in the city.
In fact, there are almost 200 apprenticeship frameworks available for businesses to choose from
And yet, in Liverpool, 75% of the apprentices we employ fall within just five of those frameworks.
So another challenge is for us to find ways of providing a broader range of apprenticeships, and to expand our programmes into the hundreds of other frameworks we haven’t yet explored.
So that’s the reason we’re here tonight – to explore the ways apprenticeships can benefit both the city and its businesses.
Its clear that not only will well designed apprenticeships offer people opportunities to gain skills and employment, and train the work force that the city will rely on in ten years time.
But it is also clear that apprentices in and of themselves form a vital part of the work force in both the public and private sector that will drive the city back towards economic growth.
Tonight’s event shows a real interest from people right across the private sector to explore apprenticeships.
My challenge to you tonight is to work with the city to provide the skilled workers of tomorrow the opportunity