Islington enlists 'Apprentice Army' of street cleaners, gardeners, brickies and administrators

New street cleaners, park rangers, gardeners, bricklayers, finance and business administrators, call centre staff and advisors have taken up paid apprenticeships with Islington Council.

The 33 strong 'army' of Islington residents have been recruited to help provide the frontline services residents value and to reduce youth unemployment that has hit Islington particularly hard.

Giving young people the best start in life is a priority for the council which has pledged to create 200 new apprenticeships by 2018, providing even more opportunities for young people.

The good news has been welcomed ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (9-13 March) during which the town hall will host an event on Tuesday 10 March, 6-8pm to promote its apprenticeship programme with more vacancies in finance,  IT, housing, repairs and legal services.

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council and an Islington Employment Commissioner said:

"Youth unemployment remains higher in Islington than the national average and the government's work programme is broken.    The council is determined to get more young people into work.
"Our paid council apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity to gain entry-level experience and qualifications to 200 bright job seekers, who haven't had the best of luck looking for work.

"Along with the pioneering Employment Commission, we are creating change and opportunity for the borough's young people across a range of employers and skills."

Former apprentice Freddie Palmer, 21, of Caledonian Road, N1  said:

“The knowledge I gained through my apprenticeship has definitely put me at an advantage.  For me, an apprenticeship has been the best start to getting my career off the ground." 

On top of the 33 residents who have taken up council job offers since April 2014, a further 23 posts are expected to be filled within the next few months.

Islington's Employment Commission tasked local employers, job brokers, schools and colleges to prioritise making change for job seekers in the borough - London's fourth poorest -  who have been hit particularly hard by the last recession. 

30 of the new apprentices are between 18-24 years old and have started jobs across a range of council services including HR, finance, environment, childrens services and housing.  

Islington Council's use of targeted employment support and local knowledge of borough employers succeeded in getting 373 residents into work in 2013/14.

December 2014's ONS figures confirmed youth unemployment halved when the number of jobless 18-24s fell below 1,000 from a previous high of 2,000 in 2010.

However, youth unemployment rates in Islington (2.4%) are higher than the national average (2%) and 18-24s are more likely to be sanctioned than any other group and lose their benefits.

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Notes to editors

Apprentices work up to 35 hours a week while studying for vocational qualifications part-time. As well as getting on-the-job training, they are allocated a personal mentor who works with them throughout their apprenticeship to help them get the most from their experience. For more information, contact: Geeta Tailor Apprenticeship Co-ordinator 020 7527 1809

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.