Olympic Legacy Budget helps to fund £2.3m London Professional Apprenticeship programme

A new apprenticeships programme in London’s professional services sector is to receive a total of GBP2.3m in funding, comprised of GBP1.4m from the Olympic Legacy Budget and GBP900,000 from professional services firm¬†PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), the UK government’s Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) announced on Tuesday.

Designed to attract outstanding young Londoners into professional services roles, the London Professional Apprenticeship (LPA) programme will provide 250 apprenticeships. The funding from the Olympic Legacy Budget will be used for the design, set up and early implementation of the LPA scheme to the end of this financial year, while the contribution from PwC will fund ongoing costs that will cover training and networking events, mentoring and a ‘graduation’ ceremony.

BIS said the LPA programme will focus on the six Olympic growth boroughs, which are: Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. An apprentice matching service will be provided to small businesses that join the LPA programme, making it easier for them to access talent. The project will also enable apprentices to learn together and develop networks that will benefit them throughout their career.

An apprentice recruitment drive will commence at the beginning of 2014 and businesses will be encouraged to employ apprentices through the LPA. The programme will focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as only 5% of SMEs in London currently employ an apprentice.

According to BIS, the professional and business services (PBS) sector is forecast to create a net increase of over 600,000 jobs by 2020. The LPA programme has been tailored to meet the needs of London’s employers and young people; therefore it includes training modules that are relevant to the capital, such as exporting, entrepreneurship and London’s role in the UK and global economy. However the model has been designed to be sustainable and BIS said it could be applied to other cities or regions.

Divisional Apprenticeships Director National Apprenticeship Service, Vic Grimes, commented: “The London Professional Apprenticeship programme is an excellent opportunity offering talented young people in London a career path into the professional business service sector and for businesses, particularly SMEs, to grow their future workforce. The National Apprenticeship Service is impressed by PwC’s ambitious targets and we look forward to supporting them through our Apprenticeship services.”