National Apprenticeship Week was established in order to celebrate the achievements of apprentices, their employers and those who support their training.
The energy and scale of National Apprenticeship Week 2013 shows just how far Apprenticeships have come. Over the past year, more than half a million apprentices started their Apprenticeship.
The week itself, which ran from 11–15 March, was the most successful ever, with nearly 900 events and activities taking place. It also generated the highest level of media coverage ever achieved during the campaign’s six year history. This would not have been possible without the commitment and hard work of the many supporters of Apprenticeships, including vitally those in FE.
Indeed, so many organisations and individuals got involved this year that the week really delivered its core purpose. It showcased both the changing nature and broadening appeal of Apprenticeships, as well as demonstrating how beneficial they are for young people, adults, businesses and the wider economy.
There were too many great events and activities to cover individually, but just a few of the many highlights included Barclays launching their “Bridges to Work” programme, which will provide 10,000 new Apprenticeship opportunities for young people. The “Made by Apprentices” campaign which celebrated the products and services provided by apprentices; and the launch of Higher Apprenticeships in new and emerging Apprenticeship sectors such as the legal profession and the creative industries. The Higher Apprenticeship route is proving very appealing to A Level students while employers, who traditionally recruited only graduates, are now employing school leavers as apprentices because they want to attract the cream of young talent.
In addition, the Centre for Economics and Business research released an independent report: Productivity Matters: The Impact Economy’. The report said that the average person completing an Apprenticeship increases business productivity by £214 per week, with these gains translating to increased profits, lower prices, better products and higher wages. It is estimated that completing a Higher Apprenticeship could result in increased lifetime earnings of more than £150,000. This is further hard evidence that Apprenticeships really are improving business and transforming lives.
To conclude the week, the group of young people that will be representing the UK at WorldSkills 2013 in Leipzig, Germany, was announced. Congratulations to every young person that has earned a place in Team UK.
Finally, I was delighted that the Skills Minister Matthew Hancock has announced the dates for next year’s National Apprenticeship Week. It will take place from 3 – 7 March so make sure you put in your diary.
David Way is chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service
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