The Department for Education paid a visit to Rochdale Borough Council as part of national apprenticeship celebrations.
Kate Josephs is director of funding at the Department for Education and she is responsible for leading and overseeing the creation and operation of a single Funding Operations Centre of Excellence responsible for schools, academies and post-16 funding.
She visited the council’s Number One Riverside offices for a special event the council was hosting, with Rochdale Training and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, on access to apprenticeships from the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community. She also went on to visit Rochdale Training, the council’s apprenticeship partner to discuss the benefits of apprenticeships.
The event saw apprentices from Rochdale, Bury, Bolton and Manchester attend who gave first-hand accounts of barriers that prevent the take up of apprenticeships within ethnic minority groups.
The event was part of the ‘5 Cities Project’. 5 major cities across England have pledged to work with the government to drive up apprenticeships among underrepresented groups and ensure they are accessible to individuals from all backgrounds.
Greater Manchester has pledged to boost diversity in apprenticeships and aims to deliver a 16 per cent increase in apprenticeship representation from BAME communities.
"They were just brilliant, amazing advocates for apprenticeships. The future's in safe hands"
Kate was incredibly impressed with the discussion and passion of the apprentices and later tweeted: “They were just brilliant, amazing advocates for apprenticeships. The future's in safe hands!!”
Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children’s services at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “It’s great to have senior officials from the Department for Education visit Rochdale and see how well our apprenticeship scheme is working.
"The event raised some important discussion points and we’re really grateful for the apprentices’ that contributed. This should go some way into making real positive change.”
"It's great to have senior officials from the Department for Education visit Rochdale and see how well our apprenticeship scheme is working"
In the last 12 months our raising participation team has recruited 45 apprentices into new positions. Since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, 120 new apprenticeship posts have been recruited to across the council and schools. We’ve also had over 300 starters on apprenticeships across existing staff development and new opportunities.
Since the introduction of the levy in April 2017, approximately 12.8% of Rochdale Borough Council’s learners on apprenticeship programmes have been from a BAME background, above the national average of 12.3%.
90% of all those who started new apprenticeship posts with the council have moved into either an internal post, a post with an external company or moved into further education.
Recruitment to the next cohort of apprenticeships at the council is still open. There are a variety of vacancies ranging from teaching assistants to business rates officers, and integrated commissioning administration to revenue and benefits officers.