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Cambridgeshire becomes first County Council to achieve Silver employers’ award

09 November 2023

Cambridgeshire has become the first County Council to be awarded ‘Silver’ membership of The 5% Club’s 2023-24 Employer Audit Scheme.

This award recognises the Council’s significant contribution to the continued development of all its employees through “earn and learn” schemes such as Apprenticeships, Graduate Development Programmes and Sponsored Student Course Placements.

With a workforce of around 4,600 people and with many roles in areas where there are national skills shortages – such as social care staff and engineering – the council continues to explore all opportunities to attract a committed and skilled workforce to deliver its vision to build a greener, fairer and more caring Cambridgeshire.

“It is a big step forward, and we want to continue to improve and go for Gold" confirmed Cllr Edna Murphy, chair of the council’s Staffing and Appeals committee."

With a membership which now exceeds 900 companies, The 5% Club represents over 1.6 million Employees, 101,000 of whom are in “earn and learn” schemes. The Employer Audit is a unique scheme which validates the employers’ activities, explores their future plans and commitments, as well as examining their approaches to quality, social mobility, diversity and inclusion.

From an impressive list of 180 members, Cambridgeshire was one of just 22 Employers who met the Silver Standard

Nathan Kent, who has recently taken up a role as a civil engineer apprenticeship with the council said: "The County Council made it clear from the outset that a career progression scheme was in place and were keen for employees to undertake continued learning and development which was exactly what I was looking for. A great opportunity to complete a qualification in civil engineering whilst working, as opposed to the university route.”

“Cambridgeshire made sure we understood our role and future development which was essential to my desire for a full career in engineering. It is a great opportunity surrounded by great people.” agreed fellow apprentice Ibrahim Hafiaz.

“A big proportion of our people are in frontline roles working directly with the residents of Cambridgeshire every day – it is vital to us that we can attract, retain, and develop the best people in a really competitive market as part of our inclusive workforce. Just this year, despite pressures on our budget we increased our investment in apprenticeships to offer our new civil engineering apprenticeships, and are delighted that we saw seven people including Nathan and Ibrahim joining us in the summer,” Cllr Murphy added.

Mark Cameron OBE, Chief Executive at The 5% Club said, “Our Employer Audit scheme recognises the efforts of all those Employers who invest in their workforce through a broad range of workplace learning schemes. It is fantastic that in these challenging times so many are able to commit to the Employer Audit and to gain the credit for their efforts, and that the majority are striving to expand their schemes over the coming years. Their efforts and achievements are to be applauded.”

Gill Cronin, Director of Operations at The 5% Club added: “Having seen The Club grow to more than 900 members, I am always impressed at the commitment, drive and energy our members channel into offering “earn and learn” skills opportunities. To now see 20 percent of these members gain Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum accredited membership of The Club is inspiring and demonstrates how these companies are all contributing to the future of skills in our economy.”