Learners at work

Part-time apprenticeships tap into amazing talent hidden in our communities

by Nick Humfrey on 17 Mar 2016

I work for Camden Council, where we are committed to supporting parents back to work; it makes our local economy stronger and benefits not only the parent but improves the prospects of the whole family.

A 2014 report by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions concluded that the key factor for child poverty is parental worklessness and low earnings. As part of our commitment to tackle parental unemployment, Camden residents have secured jobs through our Adult Apprenticeships Pilot. This is our scheme to help parents over 25 with children back in to work. These apprenticeships have been offered on a part-time basis with flexible working hours built in.  They are being paid the London Living Wage at minimum and at least one of the apprentices has already been promoted and is earning far more!

Our part-time apprenticeships are in range of different professions, anything from a document controller for large construction companies to catering assistants with the Quakers. They take two years and can incorporate Level 2 or Level 3 qualifications depending on the role. This setup hasn’t been a problem with our training providers and has really ticked the boxes for parents returning to work. Put simply:  There needs to be more part-time apprenticeships!

So, the offer is good but the candidates have been even better! The way the apprenticeship is designed has meant an excellent response by parents looking for work; it works for them and their busy lives. What is so exciting is that it also works for employers; they are getting a mature, responsible and committed team member.  Even the unsuccessful candidates have received great feedback from employers after their interviews, some employers even saying they would have employed everyone they spoke to if they could! These apprenticeships are opening up a whole section of our community that have been hidden from employers.

But the progress doesn’t just stop with parents.  We are working with Learning and Work Institute to look how this model can support young carers in their search for a career. We admit it is still early days; the pilot won’t deliver its complete findings until the winter, but we are getting excited at what this pilot could offer all job seekers that have a range of responsibilities in their lives.

You can read our interim report here.