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‘Apprentices find their feet at Barnet Council,’ says chief executive

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Barnet Council’s chief executive John Hooton has hailed what he calls its ‘army of apprentices’ that are helping to make the borough a better place to live, work, and study.

From L-R: Christopher Lewinson, Environmental Enforcement Business Support Apprentice; Derek Gibson, Business Support Admin Apprentice; John Hooton, CEO; Nathan Tadesse, Data and Systems Apprentice; and Renata Lupica, Workforce Development Support Officer

From L-R: Christopher Lewinson, Environmental Enforcement Business Support Apprentice; Derek Gibson, Business Support Admin Apprentice; John Hooton, CEO; Nathan Tadesse, Data and Systems Apprentice; and Renata Lupica, Workforce Development Support Officer

The council employs 80 apprentices in its schools, social care services, gardening and grounds work teams, street cleaning and rubbish collection departments, and back office roles. Mr Hooton made the comments during National Apprenticeship Week, an annual campaign to highlight the value that apprentices add to the UK workforce.

He said: “Our army of apprentices – in the many roles they fulfil – help make Barnet a great place to live, work, study and visit. They maintain our green spaces, work in our schools, provide social care, and ensure that our streets are kept clean. Our apprentices find their feet at Barnet Council. It gives me great pleasure to see our apprentices develop in their roles and gain the skills and experience they need to stride forward in their careers.”

Apprenticeships offer a great way to ‘earn as you learn’ without personally funding a professional qualification. Instead, through the national Apprentice Levy scheme the council covers all costs to ensure its apprentices gain the qualifications they need to develop a career in their chosen sector.

Renata Lupica, Workforce Development Support Officer, found a job with the council after passing through its apprenticeship scheme. She said: “Apprentices learn on the job and get paid. You’re getting qualifications, you’re getting a salary and you’re getting the experience. It’s a great way to kickstart your career.”

Derek Gibson, Business Support Admin Apprentice and Mill Hill resident, said: “You have a very supportive team around you that – if you need help – you can go to. There are lots of opportunities – going across the borough, joining different teams, and you get to learn from the different experiences people have had throughout your apprentice programme.”

Barnet Council has also launched a care leaver programme to help looked after children have the same opportunities in life as those who live with their birth families. The council – as their corporate parent – supports care leavers through apprenticeship roles that are set aside especially for them, helping them get a good start in life. Statistics show that 34% of care leavers were not in education, employment or training at the age of 19 compared to 15.5% of the general population. The care leaver scheme – which currently includes five apprenticeships – aims to help redress the balance.

To find out how to become an apprentice, visit gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship. Employers who wish to hire an apprentice can do so at gov.uk/recruit-apprentice. Visit apprenticeships.gov.uk for more information.

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