Agenda item

Apprentice, Graduate and Intern Strategy



To present the draft Apprentice, Graduate and Intern (AGI) Strategy (2019-22) and the priorities contained within. To inform members of the proposed creation of an AGI Coordinator post to oversee the implementation of the AGI Strategy.




·         The committee to scrutinise the draft Apprentice, Graduate and Intern Strategy and make recommendations accordingly.

·         Subject to any recommendations made, Committee to endorse the draft Apprentice, Graduate and Intern Strategy for submission to Cabinet for approval on 3rd July 2019.


Key issues:

1. The Council does not currently have a strategy in place to develop and support apprenticeship, graduate jobs and internships across the local authority. Apprentices, Graduates and Interns (AGI) are an asset to any organisation and can bring significant benefits to the business and existing workforce.

2. A need has been identified for a coordination role to support the Youth Enterprise Manager in delivering on the priorities of the Apprentice, Graduate and Intern Strategy (appendix 5 – AGI Coordinator Job Description). The AGI Coordinator will monitor and support delivery of the AGI Strategy and action plan, and will have a responsibility to;

• Support identification and creation of apprentice, graduate and intern opportunities across the organisation to support current and future skills needs.

• set up and manage a comprehensive quality monitoring system for AGI opportunities to ensure a positive experience for all involved

• increase accessibility to higher level and more diverse training opportunities for new and existing employees

• promote the value of apprentice, graduate and intern recruitment opportunities within the local authority

3. There are currently fifteen apprentices (April 2019) within the Council in the following service areas: Schools, Property services, Highways, Partnerships and Community Development, Youth Enterprise. The number of graduate officers or internships is not currently recorded.

4. The variety of apprenticeship posts within the council at present is limited and tend to be in the fields of Business Administration, Information Technology and Teaching Assistants. Expanding training opportunities and the range of higher-level qualifications will support current and future skills needs and succession planning.


Member scrutiny:

The report was presented by the Youth Enterprise Manager.  Following presentation of the report, questions were invited from Select Committee Members as follows:


·         A Member asked how many applicants or approaches are made to the Council about Apprentice, Graduate and Internships.  It was responded that numbers can vary and can be in response to adverts or sometimes students make contact via e mail requests e.g. for placements.  This can amount to approximately 30 individual approaches on an annual basis.

·         A Select Committee Member was unaware of internships and expressed concern about the potential for exploitation.  Further concern was expressed that it was not known how many, or where internships are within the organisation.  It was confirmed that Service Managers know but the information is not easy to compile.  The Member was concerned that individuals completing work experience don’t have a formal salary, it is at the discretion of the Manager if travel expenses are paid.  It was suggested that a policy was required. The Member asked how many graduate jobs are in place.  Referring to these points, it was thought unwise for the report to proceed to Cabinet without some further information.  It was responded that for internships, payment of travel expenses was a point that could be covered by the volunteer policy and that an amendment is needed.  Regarding the number of graduates, it was agreed that the definition requires greater clarity as these individuals can work in various sectors of the organisation.  Figures can be provided for the report once there is clearer information.

·         It was questioned if there are records of interns’ progress and success and confirmed that this is available at the end of their period of internship.  It was explained that this aspect requires careful management, a clear offer and expectations through discussion with service managers. 

·         A Member asked if the 15 apprentices are within the authority or with other bodies, if they are paid the appropriate rate for their age and if the internship scheme would fit into a similar scheme.  It was added that interns should receive some form of recompense and shouldn’t be viewed as free labour.  It was suggested that the matter is deferred to return for further scrutiny to proceed to Cabinet at the end of July or in September.  It was also suggested that feedback should be sought from the Head of Law/Monitoring Officer on the legal aspects of the scheme. 

·         A Member welcomed the policy and requested that the application timeline can be as short as possible. 

·         It was queried if delaying the report through the summer would have a detrimental effect on further adverts.  It was responded that all posts advertised in the authority have the same timeline.  It was added that service areas can continue to be supported with recruitment in the meantime.   The development area is for graduates and internships and it is important to ensure all aspects are correct before proceeding.  There is a toolkit in the document that was devised following meetings with current apprentices to explore their experiences with a view to considering how best to provide support from the point of entry and career pathways going forward. The strategy will provide a clear pathway of direction.

·         The Member expressed the importance of stipulating a finishing point, what individuals can expect to be paid and when the individual will move to a new post.  It was confirmed that the level of pay and qualification details are made clear from the outset; the investment in a post will strengthen this aspect, provide robust quality assurance and suitable progression for the apprentice.  This information would also be valuable for the line manager.

·         It was queried if there is liaison with Coleg Gwent, and confirmed that work will be revisited through the strategy to provide a more co-ordinated approach and pathways for students.  It was added that there will also be more engagement with schools.

Text Box: Committee Conclusion: The Chair, on behalf of the Committee, thanked the Officer for attending the meeting and explained that the Select Committee, following scrutiny, asked for some more information and amendments to be made to the report before it proceeds to Cabinet. It was agreed that the report should return to Strong Communities Select Committee on 11th July 2019 for further scrutiny then to Cabinet on either 31st July or 4th September 2019.

Supporting documents: