Programme to increase apprentices

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The City council is drawing up plans to increase the accessibility of apprenticeships to young people.

While Leeds is currently enjoying a four-year high for apprenticeship figures (7,090 for 2015/16), the authority has identified sectors among young people that are not being engaged with.

A report, being presented at the Executive Board on Wednesday, has set targets for increasing apprenticeships within black minority ethnic groups (BME), those with autism and also with businesses that have not had an apprentice before or in the last 12 months.

The ambition is to raise the rate of BME participation from 10 percent to 15 per cent by 2019. Plans also include recruiting a representative from the BME community to work with the council, in the hope of promoting apprenticeships to an extra 400 people, with a minimum of 200 applying and 75 starting one.

A 12-month programme of activity is also starting this month to promote the benefits of employing people on the autistic spectrum to a minimum of 100 businesses in Leeds’s digital and technology sector. Targets have been set for 50 per cent to commit to employing people with autism and for 25 per cent to offer a placement.

There are currently 2,935 workplaces in Leeds employing apprentices, but in addition, Leeds Council is currently working with 26 employers to help with apprenticeship recruitment at degree or higher level – to try and increase those apprenticehips from the 2015/16 number of 340 to 600 by 2017/2018. Funding is being drawn from the Leeds Apprenticeship Hub. The document also adds there has been support from the private sector and other partners both in kind and by financial donations.