This week, we celebrate the important contributions our many apprentices make here in Bristol. National Apprenticeship Week is in its 16th year, championing apprenticeships across the UK and what they mean for individuals, businesses, and also the wider economy.
This year focuses on how apprenticeships in Bristol offer Skills for Life and how learning on-the-job is a great way to get into your preferred industry or career. You can build your skills and gain invaluable experience all while earning money to help you live. These skills can be taken with you wherever your career leads you in the future.
In the last 12 months, we have seen 131 apprenticeships starting at Bristol City Council including with OnSite, our training scheme for the construction industry. Of those, 37 per cent were aged 16 to 24; 20 per cent were from a black, Asian, and minority ethnic background; and 16 per cent were from the Disabled community. We want Bristol to be a fair and inclusive place for everyone to work and continuing to create more equal opportunities for local people to start work, upskill, or change careers is an important part of this.
An example of someone already on their chosen career path is Sophie McKenzie-Brook, who is a level six apprentice social worker. Sophie is studying for her degree at the same time as building experience in social work with both adults and children. Whilst it can be demanding balancing work and study, she feels more confident and really recommends starting an apprenticeship as an alternative to more traditional education routes.
Tyler Mogg is a level three civil engineering apprentice with us. He wanted to work close to home and get paid while completing his qualification. He is studying at Bristol College as well as working in a team within the council. Through his apprenticeship, Tyler is learning new skills (such as CAD design) as well as gaining first-hand experience and he even hopes to continue working with the team after he completes his course in three years’ time.
Yolanda Munyira was already a member of the Youth Council when she decided to enrol on an apprenticeship course. She chose level three business administration as her apprenticeship and currently works closely with building control and the legal department. It is a great way to enter the world of work and Yolanda is enjoying working with her colleagues. Plus, she gets to be involved in many different areas of the council, such as the Hope Virtual School, working with the disclosure team and on Full Council meetings.
As an apprentice, you are fully employed which means you will be paid a wage and will receive a holiday allowance and other staff benefits just like other employees, such as sick leave and a pension. As a Living Wage employer, we believe in rewarding our apprentices fairly for a hard day’s work. The Living Wage Foundation rate is £9.90 per hour if you are over 18, and £7.60 per hour for those under 18 years.
We have also recently introduced a new initiative called Building Bristol. It’s great for the local construction industry as it tackles educational and economic inequality by working with developers, contractors, and employers to plug local employment and skills support services into all major city developments. Any local developers keen to be involved, or who need help completing an employment and skills plan, can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Being an apprentice can be so rewarding as well as making such a big contribution to the local workforce. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Sophie, Tyler, and Yolanda with an apprenticeship, find out more on our Education, Skills and Learning website or go to the Bristol City Council website. There are so many different types to choose from and you will be fully supported in whichever direction you choose to go.