Agenda item

The Slough Academy - Update


The Service Lead, People introduced a report that provided a half yearly update on the Slough Academy project and progress made since the last report presented in January 2020.


The Apprentice Specialist was then invited to present the details of the report.  It was explained that the programme offered various types of course ranging from 12 month training to courses that spanned over several years.  The aim of the Academy was to retain staff and develop employees’ skills, particularly in service areas where there was market shortage, such as social workers and planning officers.


The Chair then invited comments and questions from Members.


During the course of the discussion, the following points were raised:

·  It was queried if the Council recorded which schools were taking part in the apprenticeship scheme.  It was explained that schools did offer apprenticeships.  The local college did offer apprenticeships, however none of the Council’s apprentices had been recruited via the college.  The Slough Academy was for employees of the Council and it was not within the remit of the Academy to promote apprenticeships to schools.

·  A Member asked if there were any plans to offer apprenticeships at senior or management levels within the Council.  In addition, it was queried what mechanisms were in place to retain staff once they had completed their training.  It was explained that there was a variety of training offered ranging from level 2 and 3 (GCSE and A Level) up to level 6 (degree level).  There were a high number of people who took part in the apprenticeship scheme who were Slough residents, so if people did subsequently leave the Council, the skills would be retained within the local area.  Funding for the apprenticeship scheme was provided by the Government, therefore it was not possible to ask participants to sign a contact with terms and conditions requiring them to work for the Council for any length of time or refund the training fees.

·  In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the anticipated increase in unemployment, it was asked if the Council had any plans to advertise apprenticeships externally.  It was explained that an apprenticeship post would be advertised internally first and if not successfully filled, the post would be externally advertised.  The position would then be offered to the most suitable candidate.  In some cases a position would be advertised internally and externally concurrently  to attract talent from a wide range of candidates.

·  It was reported that of the current 25 apprentices currently ‘in flight’ 19 of those were Slough residents. 

·  It was noted that there were 20 females and five males currently enrolled on the apprenticeship scheme in Slough; whereas nationally there was a more even 51% to 49% male to female ratio.  It was queried if there were any reasons for this.  It was explained that often particular job sectors, such as childcare attracted females.


The Chair thanked the Service Lead, People and the Apprentice Specialist for the report.

Resolved – That the report be noted.

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