As National Apprenticeship Week 2014 draws to a close, we can certainly say what an amazing week it’s been.
The passion and commitment for apprenticeships has been celebrated with pride across the country by employers, apprentices and training organisations.
Even more people will get an opportunity to earn while they learn, after more than 20,000 new apprenticeships have been pledged by employers as part of National Apprenticeship Week.
Pledges have been made by hundreds of businesses around the country, including:
- Lloyds Banking Group committing to hiring 5,000 apprentices
- Greene King and Whitbread pledging 2,000 a piece
- EE, Mitchells & Butlers and Starbucks each announcing 1,000 vacancies,
Other companies that have pledged new apprenticeships include ITV, Be Wiser Insurance, Central Bedfordshire Council, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Ashtead Plant Hire, Southend Citizen Advice Bureau and Virgin Media.
It’s not just big corporates that are showing their continued commitment to Apprenticeships. 47% per cent of the total vacancies will be created by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) such as:
- Cambridgeshire retailer Crafting Time
- Kent web designers Interactive Red
- London charity Lives Not Knives.
Apprenticeship week has also seen a boost to the new traineeships, which give young people the work preparation training, English, maths and work experience they need to get an apprenticeship or other job.
Employers including the BBC and Port of Tilbury have pledged to give more young people traineeships and Westminster Kingsway College has launched a new parliamentary traineeship programme so 16 to 23 year olds can get a chance to gain experience in the corridors of power.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The resounding success of this year’s National Apprenticeship week demonstrates that apprenticeships are deservedly becoming more popular with business of all sizes. Apprentices already contribute £1.8 billion to the economy and with these further commitments, thousands more people will now be able to get the practical skills they need to build careers and help firms grow.”
Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock MP said: “We want to make going to university or into an apprenticeship the new norm, and over half of young people say they would like to do an apprenticeship if one were available. So it’s great that as National Apprenticeship Week 2014 comes to a close we can announce that 20,432 new positions are to be created.
“Apprenticeships are delivering for employers, young people, adults and the economy and are increasing at a record rate. Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice reports benefits to their business, including the ability to grow their own talents.”
The week has also seen the Prime Minister announce the government’s commitment to creating two million apprenticeships over the lifetime of the current Parliament. David Cameron also announced the next round of trailblazer employers; 29 new groups of employers who will lead the transformation of apprenticeships.
Other announcements during the week included the launch of new higher, degree level, apprenticeships in Space Engineering and Nursing. And to help bring more SME employers on board, further support has been announced including a new online mentoring service, apprenticemakers.
Now in its seventh year, National Apprenticeship Week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
The overarching theme for 2014 has been great apprenticeships, to demonstrate that apprenticeships are great for business, personal careers and create opportunities for both employers and apprentices.