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February 2011 – Written Question – Apprentice schemes for Young Offenders

by Nigel Bakhai on 7 February, 2011

Question

Does the council offer apprentice schemes to train ex-youth offenders, and if so, how many ex-offenders does the council currently employ?

What does the council do to encourage its contractors and businesses in Ealing to give apprenticeships or training to young offenders following their release from custody to aid their rehabilitation?

Answer

The Council’s Apprenticeship Scheme is not specifically targeted towards any particular group. As part of the recruitment process young people including ex-offenders aged 16-24 are eligible to apply for a range of apprenticeship opportunities. When apprenticeship vacancies are advertised (twice a year) information is sent to the Youth Offending Team, which is then circulated to any young people interested in applying for an apprenticeship.

In 2011 the apprenticeship scheme is expanding to become the apprenticeships programme and will now include a ‘pre-employment’ element.  The pre-employment programme will target young people (16-24) who need some additional support in order to be ready to undertake an apprenticeship (or other forms of employment).  This will be a 16-22 week work placement that will include a structured training programme.  Successful completion of the programme will guarantee the young person an interview for an apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship scheme promotes apprenticeships externally with businesses through holding ‘Business Breakfasts’. We are working to amend our procurement policy so that tendering process can be used to ensure suitable contractors take on apprentices. We also work with the National Apprenticeship Service, Ealing BID Company and the 14-19 team to encourage our supply chain to create apprenticeships for 16-18 year old employees; and through S106 planning agreements. The apprenticeship scheme does not hold information on how many ex-offenders are employed across the council.

Ealing Youth Offending Service (YOS) is a multi-agency partnership led by the Council, which undertakes a range of programmes to engage young offenders in education, training and employment (ETE). It regularly achieves the best performance in London in terms of engaging young offenders in positive activities. This includes ensuring they are reintegrated into School, College, Employment and Training options, including the Councils Apprenticeship Scheme.

For the past 2 years, the Council has run a V Talent pre-employment volunteering scheme, which provides expenses to 15 young people who volunteer 30 hours per week, in placements in Children’s services for a year. Young people who demonstrate the skills and expertise required to become an apprentice, can then transfer onto the Apprentice scheme when their V Talent placement ends. A number of young people known to the YOS have taken up V Talent positions as a route into the apprentice scheme. Government funding for V Talent is ending this year. The Council has prioritised investing in a similar in-house scheme from 2011/12, which will increase the opportunities available to young people, including young offenders.

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