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Mayor helps London apprentices on their way with cheaper travel

By Mayor of London Press Office

Mayor helps London apprentices on their way with cheaper travel
  • Announcement kicks off the start of National Apprenticeship Week
  • 40,000 apprentices expected to benefit
  • Provides apprentices working in the capital with a financial boost

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has kicked off National Apprenticeship Week by announcing a new concessionary travel scheme that will help put money back in the pockets of hard working apprentices.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has kicked off National Apprenticeship Week by announcing a new concessionary travel scheme that will help put money back in the pockets of hard working apprentices.

From May the scheme, which was one of the Mayor’s manifesto commitments, will allow anyone in the first year of an apprenticeship to get 30 per cent off adult rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram pass season tickets. It is expected to benefit around 40,000 apprentices living and working in the capital and forms part of the Mayor’s on-going campaign to boost employment opportunities for young Londoners.  The concession could save an apprentice up to £660 a year on the cost of an annual travel card.

The Mayor pledged to help create 100,000 apprenticeships in the capital by 2012 and he is imminently expected to be able to confirm that he beat that target with months to spare. The latest official figures recorded up to October of last year show the campaign, run in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service, stands at 99,700. However the next quarter’s figures are due out later this month and are expected to see a total of well in excess of the 100,000 target.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London’s apprentices are now providing a fantastic contribution to our economy and it’s only right that they are recognised for their hard work and commitment. It’s a two way street for all involved - with employers benefiting from fresh ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit, while apprentices gain confidence and a competitive understanding of the workplace. This travel concession will help put money back in their pockets and will encourage more young Londoners to sign up for apprenticeship schemes.” 

The Mayor and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Stephen Hammond MP, today visited apprentices training at Crossrail’s Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford. They met with a number of current apprentices working on this innovative construction project, many of whom will benefit from the new concession scheme.

The Mayor and Minister were shown the sprayed concrete lining equipment that Crossrail apprentices are being trained on before they start work at construction sites throughout London. Crossrail is committed to providing a minimum of 400 apprenticeships through its supply chain over the lifetime of the project; over 150 apprentices are currently employed on the scheme. 

The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy was opened in September 2011 and was established to address the skills shortage in tunnelling and underground construction. It allows Crossrail to train and retain the skilled workforce needed to deliver Europe’s biggest construction project. It will also create an important legacy beyond Crossrail by addressing the future skills needed for the unprecedented level of tunnelling and underground construction due to take place in the UK and Europe over the next decade.

Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan said: “There are more than 150 apprentices now working on Crossrail, each bringing a range of skills, enthusiasm and huge value to the project which underlines the importance of investing in high-quality skills training. The travel concession announced today will be a huge boost to the current and future apprentices working on the Crossrail project. I’m delighted the new scheme has been announced at our Tunnelling Academy which is playing its own vital role in training a new generation of apprentices and construction talent.”

Stephen Hammond MP said: “Apprenticeships are at the heart of our drive to keep Britain at the forefront of civil engineering by training the next generation of experts and ensuring our workforce has the skills employers need. This is why, this year alone, Government is planning to invest £1.5bn in apprenticeships. Our increased investment in this area is already bearing fruit and we have seen the number of people starting apprenticeships increasing at a record rate under this Government.

“This academy is a shining example of how high quality apprenticeships are being delivered and it is playing a vital role in providing the skilled workers needed to deliver Crossrail and other major transport projects in the UK and beyond.” 

Vic Grimes, Divisional Apprenticeship - Director, London and South East, National Apprenticeship Service, said: “The National Apprenticeship Service has been working closely with the GLA and TfL to ensure that this travel concession benefits young Londoners. Apprentices are travelling daily across the capital to work and study, and we are particularly delighted that this concession is being announced during Apprenticeship Week. This is a great time for people to find out about Apprenticeships and the range of options open to job seekers. Apprenticeships now cover over 1,500 job roles from engineering and youth work to digital media, so the range of opportunities is huge. I would encourage employers and young people to find out more or to search for a vacancy to visit our website”

Apprentices will be able to apply for their Apprentice Oyster Photocard from early May on the TfL website. They will need to be over 18 to be eligible and enrolled in the first year of an approved apprenticeship course. More information on how to apply for the scheme will be released soon. It is expected that applicants will receive their photocards within a matter of weeks of making their application.

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Notes to Editors

1. The Apprentice Oyster photocard scheme will be open in May for online applications at

  • The concession allows holders to save 30 per cent against the price of adult rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Passes. All apprentices in London may be eligible for 12 months discounted travel from the date of their application.  To be eligible apprentices must be:18 years or over (16-18 yr olds are already eligible for a concession) 
  • Enrolled on an Apprenticeship* with a further education college or training organisation 
  • Be a London resident 
  • Enrolled on an apprenticeship training course for a minimum of 12 months 
  • In the first 12 months of their apprenticeship

 *The Apprenticeship must be SASE compliant (Specification for Apprenticeship Standards in England) and delivered through a further education college or training organisation approved or funded by the Skills Funding Agency.

Apprentices are not eligible if they have either:

  • A 16+ Oyster photocard or
  • An 18+ Student Oyster photocard or
  • A Disabled Freedom Pass or
  • A 60+ Oyster photocard or
  • A Veterans Oyster photocard or
  • A Bus & Tram Discount photocard

2. The Mayor is committed to ensuring that London leads the way in creating apprenticeships in the capital and working with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) as of October last year the campaign has seen 99,700 places created since 2010. Figures published later this month are expected to show that the Mayor has comfortably beaten his pledge to create 100,000 places by the end of 2012.

3. The Mayor has also recently launched a marketing campaign to promote the value of apprenticeships, with posters and videos popping up online and at London Underground stations across town.

It forms part of a wider campaign to encourage businesses of all sectors to find out about what apprenticeships can offer to businesses and is being run in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service.

4. About the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

The National Apprenticeship Service focuses on increasing the number of apprentices in England. It works with employers to help them introduce apprentices into their businesses, help those looking to start their careers find an Apprenticeship opportunity and contribute towards the costs of the training and qualifications within an Apprenticeship.

It engages with a wide range of partners to help design the frameworks for apprentices and implements all Government policies aimed at setting the high standard of quality Apprenticeships. It promotes excellence in Apprenticeships and vocational training with awards, campaigns and skills competitions including National Apprenticeship Week and WorldSkills UK.

5. About Apprenticeships

Tailored to suit employers:  Apprenticeships have been developed with business, to suit business. Employers can also choose to add on extra learning and knowledge development to suit their specific business requirements.

Improving motivation and efficiency: 80% of those who employ apprentices say they make the workplace more productive and 92% of say they lead to a motivated and satisfied workplace.

Building diversity of skills and perspectives: A diverse workforce brings different skills, experiences and ideas to a business – delivering proven, bottom line benefits for employers.

Improving social responsibility: Recruiting and championing apprentices represents a real contribution to the local community – and helps foster social mobility. 81% of customers would prefer to use a company that employs apprentices.

6. About the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE 16 to 24)

The government is offering businesses with up to 1,000 employees a grant of up to £1,500 to recruit their first apprentice aged 16 to 24.  Initially only on offer during the 2012/13 financial year, this initiative has now been extended for a further year.

Employers who have recruited an apprentice in the past 12 months (on a rolling time period) are not eligible for the grant because its aim is to support employers to offer new and additional Apprenticeships to young people. 

The £1,500 grant is in addition to the training costs of the chosen Apprenticeship framework, which are met in full for 16-18 year olds and 50% for those aged 19-24.  Employers will be required to commit to employing an apprentice for a minimum of 12 months, or the time it takes for the apprentice to complete their programme.