Medway Council continues to embrace its responsibilities under the Apprenticeship Levy and has again exceeded the accompanying public sector target.

We're proud to have achieved 87 new apprenticeship programme starts between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024. The public sector target is no longer a requirement, however we still aim to achieve this organisationally and we have exceeded our 2.3% target again this year.

What actions we've taken to achieve this

1. Continuing to resource our Apprenticeship Academy

This means the officers involved can actively promote apprenticeships, wherever and whenever possible. This will generate more awareness and understanding of the opportunities that apprenticeships offer to departments and services.

Apprenticeships can also enable existing staff to progress their professional development and career prospects. We have achieved this by continuing to provide resources and services to our apprentices such as regular monthly forums.

2. Continuing to monitor the new apprenticeship programmes being approved by the IfATE

We will continue promoting these to our many varied teams and departments within the council. This is to raise awareness of the multitude of career development opportunities available to existing staff.

These actions continue to build on the apprenticeship programme successes of previous years. This is a trajectory we hope to replicate once again, in the forthcoming year.

Challenges we faced in our efforts to meet the target

The public sector apprenticeship target is no longer a requirement, however, we still aim to achieve organisationally and we have exceeded our 2.3% target again this year.

Even though the requirement to meet this target has been removed, we must still report on our apprentice figures yearly and this reflects how we as an organisation are performing. Within this report we must report on our schools workforce figures, yet our schools have devolved employer status and can choose to ignore our advice and offer of support for apprenticeships. We have a few schools who are keen to use apprenticeships, but the others remain largely disinterested despite the continued communication, advice and support offered around apprenticeships, by our HR Schools team. Given the lower interests of some schools, these figures can skew our overall performance report.

A huge challenge we have faced recently is the issues with our HQ building. This is where we delivered all our monthly forums, so we have had to source alternative venues or ways of delivery. We are currently testing how different venues work for our apprentices and have recently trialled some virtual forums. We check in regularly with our apprentices and take their suggestions on board when it comes to what they want the forums to look like and what models of delivery work best for them. We look forward to finding a new permanent location for the forum deliveries and will continue to work with our apprentices to make sure the delivery is effective and inclusive for everyone.

How we're planning to ensure we meet the target in future

We will continue to progress largely in the way that we are currently doing, which is achieving all our organisational aims regarding apprenticeships.

Our strategy to widely promote apprenticeships locally, is enticing young people to consider us as an apprenticeship employer of choice within the region - which is our aspiration. We offer a diverse range of apprentice roles, at all levels, enabling us to grow our own workforce and help us future-proof our organisation.

Our project to engage with our leaving care young people continues, with some successes and, as the corporate parent, we intend to continue prioritising this initiative, and accelerate support to our young people in the coming year.

Supporting existing staff with career progressing, learning and development pathways, via apprenticeship programmes, has helped us to meet individual professional development aspirations and retain a more motivated and engaged workforce. We will continue to work with our teams and service managers to identify the apprenticeship programmes which will continue to ensure our employees feel valued by this investment in them.

We have plans for National Apprenticeship Week to celebrate our apprentices’ successes over the year, and encourage more interactions across the organisation to promote apprenticeships.

Even with the removal of the target we will continue to meet our own organisational targets, and we are forecasting that we will continue to use all our apprenticeship levy monies next year.

Data for reporting period 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024

Number of employees who work in England

  • 2,262 working as of 31 March 2023
  • 2,298 working as of 31 March 2024
  • 372 new employees working with Medway Council between 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024.

Number of apprentices who work in England

  • 95 apprentices working as of 31 March 2023
  • 154 apprentices working as of 31 March 2024
  • 87 new apprentices between 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 including new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship.

Reporting percentages

  • Percentage of apprenticeship starts (new hires and existing employees) as a proportion of employment starts between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024: 23.39%
  • Percentage of total headcounts that were apprentices on 31 March 2024: 6.7%
  • Percentage of apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024 as a proportion of total headcount on 31 March 2023: 3.85%.