Catherine McGuinness: Time for action on apprenticeships


OVER 90% of apprentices go on into work or further training. That’s a statistic worth paying attention to.

Apprenticeships are becoming ever more popular, and it’s not hard to see why. They can be a win-win for the employer and the employee. We can certainly vouch for this.

We’ve had a fantastic year, recruiting 102 apprentices in just 12 months, hitting and exceeding our target of 2.3% of the workforce being apprentices.

Our new starters have been placed across the City Corporation’s departments, learning new skills in horticulture in our City gardens, in customer service at Tower Bridge, and as animal handlers at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre.

For young people, apprenticeships can be a stepping stone into the world of work. They empower people to try different jobs, experience a range of sectors, and use their experience to discover new ways into work.

If you can’t wait for your career to start, and have motivation and ambition to burn, then going for an apprenticeship might just be the thing for you. The City Corporation works closely with leading employers who are ready for the right candidates.

For businesses, apprenticeships can help develop the skills an organisation needs, diversify a workforce, and improve talent.

Affecting all sectors, the apprenticeship levy introduced last year is paid by employers with annual pay bills over £3million. Employers pay 0.5%, which can be recouped to pay for apprentice training and assessment.


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Catherine McGuinness: “We want to develop a diverse City”

Since the levy was announced, it has been encouraging to hear more businesses begin to talk about apprenticeships and start to look at how they can be a key part of the solution to the skills gap. For us, the levy has proven a success and provided a great career opportunity for many young adults.

We want to develop a diverse City which creates jobs and opportunities for people of all backgrounds hailing from here in the Square Mile and indeed right across London.

And we aim to make sure that the City’s businesses of all sizes and sectors continue to compete globally.

University degrees don’t always provide the skills needed by firms. These are often skills which hands-on apprenticeships could easily deliver whilst providing a clear and stable pathway to a career.

There has never been a better time to take on an apprentice. Employers can suit their business needs through tailor-made apprenticeships which work for the organisation whilst efficiently training a freshly skilled new workforce.

Attracting and keeping talent is key to the competitiveness of the City and the UK, and accessing the large untapped talent pool in London and beyond is critical for future growth.

We will continue to work hard to improve apprenticeship uptake across London and give new career pathways into jobs for people from all walks of life and help businesses get the skills they need.

Let’s continue the conversation, and turn more conversations into action.