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Meeting the Public Sector Apprenticeship Target

Public sector bodies with 250 or more staff have a target set by the government to employ an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as new apprentice starts each year.  As a public sector body in scope of this target, we must ‘have regard’ to the target.  This means we must:

  1. Report our data annually (see Data Publication table below)
  2. Explain how we have had regard to the target, including the actions we have taken to challenge obstacles preventing us from meeting the target

Cornwall Council Reporting percentages



Percentage of apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) as a proportion of employment starts between 1 April to 31 March




Percentage of total headcount that were apprentices on 31 March



Percentage of apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) between 1 April to 31 March as a proportion of total headcount on 31 March





Our Apprenticeship Strategy sets out our ambitious plans to create 500 apprenticeships by 2021.  Here are some of the actions we achieved in 2018/19:

  • We increased our apprenticeships from 40 starts in 2016/17 to 110 in 2017/18 and maintained them at 110 in 2018/19
  • 66% of new entrant apprentices who completed their programme during 2018/19 have secured employment within the Council
  • We have expanded the range and level of apprenticeships utilised within the Council to support skills needs and help raise skill levels across the workforce. ‘Growing our own’ talent is central to our workforce strategy
  • We work with our public sector colleagues in health and social care, and our Group of Companies to develop and deliver existing and new Standards by learning providers that address skills gaps and promote job opportunities for our residents
  • We are a member of the Local Government Association and Regional Public Sector Groups, and take opportunities to influence and shape future national provision.  We contributed to a Ministerial roundtable in January 2019 about the future of apprenticeships and as part of 2019 National Apprenticeship Week, hosted a Ministerial visit
  • As a large levy payer, we are focussing on higher spend apprenticeships for our own workforce and for levy transfers to other employers in Cornwall to maximise spend of our levy

We now have over 150 apprenticeships being undertaken in 39 different occupational areas ranging from Levels 2 to 7, including vehicle engineering, business administration, management and senior leader, web and media, commercial procurement, chartered surveyor through to operational firefighting.  We will be able to use our levy funds to train up to 15 new Social Worker degree apprenticeships and 7 existing trainee social workers in September 2019.

We have had some challenges along the way including delays in new apprenticeship Standards being available.  However our Strategy clearly details our plans to increase apprenticeships in our workforce in line with our skills needs.  We will continue to have due regard for the Duty target and hope (and will continue to lobby) that some of the more complex issues and challenges we have raised for consideration by the government are addressed.

For more information, please get in touch with us at or call 01872 324600