A £1.1m investment has been approved by councillors in Gwynedd to bolster its “vastly successful” apprenticeship schemes over the coming years.
In 2019 the cabinet approved a £300,000 scheme to try and retain some of Gwynedd’s brightest young talents and train up its managers of the future.
Hoping that they would provide an opportunity for local young people to start a quality career path with the council and through the medium of Welsh, 35 have been appointed over the first two years of the scheme.
But planning to expand this further, decision makers backed the setting aside of another £600,000 in order to fund at least a further three years of the scheme after hailing its early successes – having attracted 15 more than originally targeted.
In addition, the authority approved another £500,000 to be spent on the “Cynllun Yfory” scheme, set up as an opportunity for graduates to develop expertise in key fields and to understand more about working in local government and secure a post-graduate qualification.
With competition for places said to be “keen,” a decision in 2015 to slash its budget was essentially reversed by cabinet members on Tuesday.
Cllr Nia Jeffreys, the cabinet member with responsibility for corporate support, said that the move also fell in line with the authority’s agenda of promoting equality but also stressed that apprenticeships weren’t designed exclusively for younger recruits and would accept applications from older people.
She added that while the authority contributed £685,000 to the UK Government’s apprenticeship levy in 2019/20 – as a major employer – it received £680,000 back due to its own apprenticeships schemes and in-service training.
“The fact that we are ready to invest in these exciting plans for the years to come highlights our ambition to secure good jobs for the people of Gwynedd,” she said.
“As one of the largest employers in the county, it’s important that we continue to develop a quality workforce for the future.
“Over the previous years, tens of people have benefited from our apprenticeship and ‘Cynllun Yfory’ schemes.
“As well as gaining key experience in the workplace, these individuals have gained professional qualifications, and nine apprentices have already secured permanent jobs with the Council.
“Through these schemes, we have also been successful in promoting the equality agenda with many examples of women being appointed to areas historically associated with men such as civil engineering as well as men working in areas such as care.”
She added that the apprenticeship schemes were helping to fill traditionally hard to recruit vacancies, including adult care and IT.
Cllr Jeffreys added: “As well as contributing to the aim of enabling people to get on in Gwynedd, we will also continue to encourage partners such as colleges who work with us on these schemes to offer the vast majority of their provision through the medium of Welsh.”