Today brings to a close the most successful National Apprenticeship Week yet; with unprecedented support received for the week from the apprenticeships community, in the number of events delivered and coverage achieved, both online and in social media.
The ambition of delivering a 10,000 talks movement - #10kTalks – to inspire the next generation of apprentices in schools across the country has been exceeded, reaching over 33,500 people. Over 300 schools joined the 10,000 talks movement and a further 130 schools also hosted teacher-to-teacher talks - reaching an additional 2,300 individuals. The Big Assembly, which tool place on Thursday, reached an additional 20,000 people with a live video stream - showcasing apprentices and employers sharing their apprenticeships stories.
The week kicked off on Monday, 5 March with a launch event at the BBC in London with news of a new ground-breaking apprenticeship programme, developed with the Sutton Trust, to support 50 school leavers from socially diverse backgrounds, to apply for apprenticeships.
Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds recognised the ambitions of the BBC and Sutton Trust in his address, whilst reaffirming the crucial role apprenticeships play in helping people realise their potential as they learn and earn.
Also on launch day, Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Anne Milton visited Manchester, where she had breakfast with apprentices from Kelloggs, before attending a 10K Talk at St Ambrose RC High School in Wardley, Manchester. Social media activity saw #NAW2018 and National Apprenticeship Week 2018 trend on social media (Twitter) on launch day – trending top in the UK.
On Tuesday the Minister visited Yorkshire Building Society in Leeds for a Northern PowerHouse event, before a visit to Asda House to meet apprentices. The Minister then moved to Askham Bryan College in York to meet more apprentices from the college. Meanwhile Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service took time to work shadow some apprentices and spent time with Fathima Alim and Christina Janse Van Rensburg, Level 3 business administration apprentices in the Policy Curriculum division at the Department for Education.
Wednesday saw the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network (ADCN) celebrate its first year with an event dedicated to recognising the achievements of its 50 members – who are all committed to championing apprenticeships and diversity amongst employers. New members, including Channel 4, Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, and ITV were welcomed to the network by Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Anne Milton and Helen Grant, MP and Chair of the network, who acknowledged members commitment to ensuring that their workforce includes apprentices, from all backgrounds.
International Women’s Day on Thursday was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate how ‘Apprenticeships Work for Women’ and highlighted and celebrated the positive impact of female apprentices in workplaces across the country.
The event, taking place on the penultimate day of National Apprenticeship Week 2018, saw Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Anne Milton and high profile names in business, politics and society address an audience of teachers, apprentices and female business leaders at the National Gallery, London, whilst leading art historian introduced some of the artwork created by women and on show in the Gallery’s collection.
A fitting end to National Apprenticeship Week 2018 involved 250 apprentices – from across a variety of sectors and job roles – in ‘Class of 2018’ graduation ceremonies, taking place in six prestigious venues across England. Apprentices that have completed their apprenticeship in the last 12 months were recognised and celebrated; whilst showcasing why more people should choose an apprenticeship as a pathway to a great career.
A video thank you message from Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Anne Milton and for everyone involved in the week:
Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service said:
The 11th annual National Apprenticeship Week has shown me how apprenticeships continue to be seen as a brilliant career path for individuals and also a great opportunity for employers to shape the workforce they need to deliver.
I have attended many events over the course of the week and the message I get is that apprenticeships work. From celebrating the new apprenticeship programme with the BBC, to meeting inspiring employers committed to diversity whilst seeing so many apprentices receive the recognition they deserve at class of 2018 graduation ceremonies I am satisfied that the whole apprenticeships community values the opportunities apprenticeships present.
We need to build on this momentum, to encourage individuals – regardless of age or background – to find an apprenticeship and get on the path to a brilliant future. National Apprenticeship Week wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for all the supporters of apprenticeships so I thank them all for their dedication to National Apprenticeship Week and to apprenticeships and the difference they are making to the lives of individuals.