Lewisham Council announced yesterday (December 14) that it has “smashed” the target of its apprenticeship campaign – but the target appears to have changed.

According to its original press release, the council launched a campaign in August to hire 100 apprentices in 100 days.

Its apprenticeship scheme was paused in the wake of the pandemic and the campaign formed part of the council’s Covid-19 recovery plan.

News Shopper:

The original release, received by the local democracy service, stated: “Mayor of Lewisham launches major employment initiative as part of Covid recovery.

“Lewisham Council this week launched a campaign to hire 100 local apprentices in 100 days.”

The release included a comment from the mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan.

“Lewisham has a long history of supporting apprentices and this week we’re launching our most ambitious programme ever.

“We will be recruiting 100 new apprentices over the next 100 days,” he said.

But on Monday the council sent out the latest release on the campaign, which told a different story.

News Shopper:

Its title stated: “Lewisham Council smashes target of 100 apprenticeship opportunities in 100 days.”

The release went on to say: “In August this year Lewisham Council launched an ambitious campaign to advertise 100 apprenticeships in 100 days to provide opportunities for residents during the coronavirus crisis.

“As we start the final week of the campaign the council has exceeded this target by advertising 167 apprenticeship vacancies with further opportunities expected this week.”

The local democracy service asked for clarification on exactly how many apprentices have been hired, and why the aim of the campaign appears to have changed to advertising the apprenticeships, rather than hiring 100 apprentices.

The council declined to comment on the change, but said it advertised more than 160 apprenticeships and more than 100 are still live.

A spokesperson said: “Despite the total number of apprenticeships nationally falling by half since the start of the pandemic, Lewisham council has worked with local businesses and organisations to increase apprenticeship opportunities for Lewisham residents.

“Since August the council has advertised over 160 opportunities. All of the apprenticeships at the council will pay the London Living Wage.

“At a time when unemployment and job insecurity is rising, the council has recruited residents into a range of new roles and is continuing its drive to open up more job opportunities and is very proud to be doing so.

“With over 100 fantastic apprenticeship opportunities still live, we’d urge residents to have a look at our website, and we’d urge more employers to consider taking on an apprentice.”