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 Percentage
Apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) as a proportion of employment starts between 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 16.52%
Total headcount that were apprentices on 31 March 2018 1.68%
Apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) between 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 as a proportion of total headcount on 31 March 2017 1.56%


Our Apprenticeship Strategy sets out our ambitious plans to create 500 apprenticeships by 2021.  Here are some of the actions we achieved in 2017/18:

  • We increased our apprenticeships from 40 starts in 2016/17 to 110 in 2017/18 
  • We identified apprentice opportunities as part of service workforce planning and a ‘grow our own approach’ to meeting skills needs
  • We utilised supervisory and management apprenticeship Standards to support aspiring and developing managers for over 60% of existing staff 
  • We implemented revised pay rates for all apprentice levels that are competitive in the labour market to recruit and retain apprentices to meet organisational needs
  • New apprentices securing employment with the Council after completion increased from 65% to 79%
  • We improved our internal processes to make sure apprenticeships are considered as viable vacancy and new post options for new and existing staff
  • We started developing a work placement ‘work ready’ programme to prepare disadvantaged groups including care leavers for access to apprentice vacancies

We now have over 100 new and existing employees currently undertaking at least 20 different apprenticeships ranging from Levels 2 to 6 including vehicle engineering, business administration, management, web and media, commercial procurement, chartered surveyor through to operational firefighting.

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 over the next four years 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