Cllr calls for increase in number of apprentices at Hertfordshire County Council

More than 100 apprentices have started at the council since April

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:29 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 12:30 pm

Calls have been made for the county council to increase the number of apprenticeships on offer, despite data showing that more than 100 apprentices have started at the council since April.

Last year (2020/21) Hertfordshire County Council took on more than 200 apprentices. And throughout 2021/22 the council aims to take on 187.

But at a meeting of the county council’s resources and performance cabinet panel on Wednesday, December 1, Conservative cllr Ken Crofton called on the council to expand the scheme further.

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Cllr calls for increase in number of apprentices at Hertfordshire County Council

Data presented to the meeting showed that already this year – between April and September – the council has taken on 112 new apprentices.

And it was reported that a further 47 are already scheduled to start later in the year.

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But despite accepting the data was “encouraging”, Conservative cllr Ken Crofton said that it must be expanded.

“That has to be the way forward,” he said.

“It is such a negative thing just to be a parasitic organisation, where you go to the market and try to pinch people and out-pay them to encourage them to come and work for us, with all the benefits and pleasures of working for Herts County Council.

“It is so important that the apprenticeship scheme is expanded to make certain that we pitch them into adult care services, that we pitch them into highways and all the suffering areas where we are trying to find people that are already highly regarded in the industry. Pinching them away is such a negative thing.”

Earlier in the meeting shortages of staff in fields such as lawyers, planning officers, and educational psychologists were identified – leading the council to use agency staff.

And in reports references were also made to the need for social workers, care workers and recycling operatives.

Cllr Crofton said: “We need to bring in loads and loads of apprenticeships in all the struggling areas – so that we can bring them forward that will be useful in three, four five years time.

“The apprenticeship scheme is excellent, but it must be expanded.”

In response executive member for resources ad performance Cllr Bob Deering pointed to the success of the county council in its recruitment of apprentices.

“Personally I would completely agree with the substance of the point, which is that apprentices – you would hope – would be a pipeline for long-term recruitment,” he said.

“But I think simply in terms of apprentices Hertfordshire County Council has an absolutely established reputation as being one of the leading employers probably in the country when it comes to being supportive of apprenticeship schemes.

“Certainly in the world of local government we are highly regarded for the work we do in the area of apprentices – and it’s an extremely good thing.”