TARGETS to get more people into apprenticeships in Wiltshire are being missed because not enough firms are taking on people to learn skills on the job.

While the council took on 24 new recruits and are training 121 current employees, just 16 people have been taken on for an apprenticeship in schools last year.

Plans have also been made to make sure contractors who carry out work on behalf of Wiltshire Council also offer apprenticeships to help people into work.

Speaking during the children’s health select committee, chairman Jon Hubbard said: “We do have influence with contractors who we are spending vast sums of money with. Why can’t something be written into their contracts stating they must take on some apprentices?”

Terrence Herbert, corporate director for children and education at Wiltshire Council said: “This is being done and work is going on to put this into contracts, this is now on the horizon. If you come back in six months there will be change.”

All public sector employers have been told to employ at least 2.3 per cent of workers as apprentices. Due to the success of the council’s own programme steps have been taken to appoint a temporary assistant to increase school apprenticeships.

The apprentice levy, which all large companies, including those in the public sector, must pay, creates £72,00 a month for the council to pay for the training of new apprentices.