Case Study: Shared Apprentice Limited

Shared by: Alison Smith, Service Leader, Strategic Policy and Economy, Angus Council

Name of Organisation/Project

Shared Apprentice Limited

Funding Partners Involved

Angus Council, Dundee Council, Dundee & Angus College and Construction Industry Training Board (CiTB )

Background Information

SAL grew out of the original Angus Shared Apprentice Programme (ASAP). It started in 2015 and ASAP was the first of its kind in Scotland. It was established to offer added value apprenticeships in Angus at a time of low wage rates, high youth unemployment, and an industry skills shortage within the construction sector. It became a victim of its own success in that it needed to grow further, so Dundee came on board in 2017 and it became SAL.

SAL is an innovative programme that is a collaborative approach between public and private partners to increase the skills levels in the construction sector, while still being young person centred. All apprentices are employed by SAL for the duration of their apprenticeship and whilst working towards their qualification, each apprentice is placed with a number of private sector employers. The private sector employer contributes towards the wage cost of the apprentice whilst they are with them. There is no contribution required from the employer when the apprentice is on holiday or at college. All employment terms and conditions lie with SAL, which offers the young person comfort that they will get a well-rounded apprenticeship and for the employer the comfort that there is no risk in committing to a four year apprenticeship. Angus Council also have SAL options embedded into their community benefit clauses in their public procurement to further promote the project.

Inclusive Growth Outcomes Sought

Increase access to high quality, sustainable employment for the young people of Angus and Dundee

Stimulate and sustain growth in construction sector particularly for SMEs who struggle to compete and grow in this current economic climate

Actions Taken

Young people are offered opportunities to start an apprenticeship in the fields of bricklaying; joinery; roofing; painting and decorating; and most recently electrical and civil engineering. A large proportion of the apprentices have come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or those who have some other barrier to employment such as learning difficulties. The programme provides more than just employment – it has been instrumental in mentoring and enabling young people to develop the skills and confidence to lead more independent lives. It has grown from 11 apprentices in 2015 to a total of 40 apprentices in 2018 with recruitment about to start in 2019 for a further 12 apprentices. There are 39 small local businesses which have benefited and employed apprentices from SAL.

Challenges Encountered & How Overcome

There were initially some doubts around whether take up with local employers would be supported, recruitment of suitable candidates and sustainability of those employed. These challenges were overcome in large part by having a dedicated point of contact, a SAL co-ordinator, to act as promoter of the programme, monitor for the apprentices and to deal with any issues faced by both apprentices and employers.

SAL has also been able to offer additional support to those most disadvantaged by utilising a grant of £20k available from the Lintel Trust. This grant has been spread over three years, from 2017 – 2020 and represents awards made to both Dundee and Angus Councils as part of the Tayside Procurement Consortium. Bothe Councils decided to use this award to operate a discretionary fund to assist those who had additional barriers to overcome to enter and sustain employment. The awards under this fund have assisted in areas such as travel a particular difficulty in rural areas, additional equipment/training and them with wage subsidies when they were in crisis. While this funding will no longer be available after 2020 it is expected that the Tay Cities inclusive growth stream will further enhance the sustainability and long term future of SAL.

Assessment of Impact & Future Opportunities 

Whilst only in its 4th operating year the success of SAL is outlined below:

• The company has a workforce of 40 apprentices
• Dundee City Council joined the programme in 2017
• Turnover of apprentices has been low, with 5 having left the programme through either ill health; change of career; or poor timekeeping
• 3 Apprentices were invited to represent the local college in the Scottish heat for the National Skill Build competition. One apprentice was placed second in the joinery category for Scotland
• Company runs at 95% apprentice utilization with local employers
• There are 39 employers signed up for the programme
• The Company was a finalist and highly commended at the Dundee and Angus Courier Business Awards category ‘New Small Business of the year’.
• Winner of the Delivering Excellence Award from Scottish Government at the COSLA awards 2018

The social and economic benefit as a result of this ‘prevention’ approach whilst difficult to quantify is significant. National statistics state the cost of a young person not in employment, education or training (NEET) costs the government over £56,000. With 40 apprentices employed in SAL (£56k x 40) this represents a saving to the taxpayer of £2.24 million by our young people securing a positive destination.

Links to Further Information

Cosla Gold Award

ASAP videos

Employer/Community Benefits video Duncan Gardner, Balfour Beatty

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