Wandsworth Council won the funding to boost employment opportunities for young people in the borough.
£1.25m worth of apprenticeship funding has been won by Wandsworth to boost employment opportunities for young people in the borough.
This follows the release of figures last week showing youth unemployment is now at its highest since the recession began.
Wandsworth Council led a bid for the money, from the Skills Funding Agency’s European Social Fund, with several other South West London councils.
Having beaten national employment and service providers Reed, Serco and Prospects to the funding, it will split the money with Merton, Sutton, Croydon, Kingston and Richmond councils.
Wandsworth will use a share of the funding to help 16 to 19-year-olds access apprenticeships and other training and, over the next two years, a minimum of 716 youngsters are expected to be given an employability helping hand through various programmes across the boroughs.
Kathy Tracey, Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for education and children’s services, said the borough’s existing apprenticeships have had a positive effect, but there is still work to be done to get more local employers on board.
“We have had tremendous success in offering high quality apprenticeships for some of our young people and we have discovered a high level of talent and ability out there,” she said.
“There are a number of high profile employers who are actively supporting the programme but there is still some way to go in really opening up entry to the labour market for many of our young people.”
During next month’s National Apprenticeship Week, Wandsworth Council will champion the benefits of apprenticeships to local employers.
The borough has already contributed to a pledge made by London councils in 2009 to create 2,000 apprenticeships by March 2012 – with its creation of 66 positions.
Wandsworth-based Selina Gilbert, 19, knows just how important an apprenticeship can be – on both a professional and personal level.
Having started a business and administration apprenticeship when she was 17, Selina was named Learner of the Year at the borough’s Adult and Community Learning Awards last year.
“Since starting my apprenticeship, I have gained a great deal of confidence and a wide range of experience and new skills,” she said.
“An apprenticeship is a great stepping stone. You are not only earning, you are learning along the way.”
If you are a young person looking for an apprenticeship or an employer interested in finding out how to get involved with apprenticeships call Flora Wallington on 020 8871 8478 or email [email protected]
National Apprenticeship Week will be taking place from 6 to 10 February. Visit http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/Awards/Apprenticeship-Week-2012.aspx for more information.