City Corporation breaks target by hiring over 100 apprentices

Anna Mercer, apprentice at Keats House

Over 100 young apprentices are kickstarting their careers at the City of London Corporation in a diverse range of jobs across the capital, funded by the Apprenticeship Levy. The City Corporation is the governing body for the Square Mile and a major London-wide public services provider. It has exceeded its target to employ 100 apprentices in a single year by hiring an impressive 102 young adults in 12 months.

City Corporation apprentices have been placed across its departments, learning new skills as tree surgeons on Hampstead Heath, as animal handlers at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre and museum curators at Keats House. All City Corporation apprentices, who are recruited from a diverse range of backgrounds, are paid London Living Wage and continue to be supported with careers advice after their apprenticeship.

Employing apprentices is one of many ways in which businesses can acquire and develop the skills their firms need, while improving the employability of the younger generation. Last year the government committed to an extra three million apprentices in England by 2020, to be funded through the Apprenticeship Levy. The levy was introduced to help to deliver new apprenticeships and support quality training by putting employers at the centre of the system. The levy applies to all employers in England who have an annual pay bill above £3m.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to kick-start to a young person’s career – a stepping stone into the world of work. They empower people to try out different jobs, experience a range of sectors and use their experience to discover new ways into employment. I’m proud that we have has risen to the challenge set by Government to have 2.3% of our workforce as apprentices. We will continue to work hard to improve apprenticeship uptake across London and give new career pathway into jobs for people from all walks of life.” 

Recent figures show that 75% of apprentice employers say that apprenticeships cut recruitment costs. And 81% of apprentice employers say that apprentices make their businesses more productive. To help City firms make the most of Apprenticeship Levy, the City Corporation is hosting a webinar series* on how apprenticeships work, and how to make them best work for businesses.

As part of the City Corporation’s Apprenticeships in the City programme, the series of eight webinars will simplify the steps for companies taking on apprentices. It launches this week [5 March 2018], to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week.

Case study:  Anna Mercer, 27, apprentice at Keats House

“I started my apprenticeship with the City of London Corporation in October 2017. I work at Keats House, a museum dedicated to the Romantic poet John Keats who lived here in 1818-20, before his tragically short life ended in 1821 (he was just 25 years old). He wrote some of his most famous poems including ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ in the house.

“Before I started working at the museum I was an events volunteer here while I was writing up my PhD thesis in English Literature (University of York, completed 2017). My academic research focuses on two of Keats’s contemporaries, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the novelist Mary Shelley. I was excited to take up the role at Keats House because in my academic career so far I have been particularly interested in public engagement, and other literary houses: for example I’ve organised events at the Keats-Shelley House in Rome (our sister museum) and at Chawton House in Hampshire.

“I wanted to learn how to take my knowledge of the Romantic period writers and apply it in a customer-facing setting, and also gain incredibly valuable experience of working in a small museum day-to-day. I’ve also been lucky to have this chance to learn about curating and museum management. Among other responsibilities in my role at Keats House I am organising some events later this year focusing on the bicentenary of the publication of Keats’s Endymion and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and a poetry reading on Percy Shelley’s final years in Italy. I also am interested in communications and I have been running some of the social media for the museum.”