During National Apprenticeship Week 2021 #NAW2021, Amazing Apprenticeships (@AmazingAppsUK) was invited by the Social Mobility Commission (@SMCommission) to join an expert panel for a webinar entitled “Apprenticeships: a game-changer for social mobility”.

Amazing Apprenticeships is probably best known for our work with 4,500 schools and FE colleges nationwide, but we also work closely with government, leading social mobility charities and around 1000 of the country’s biggest and boldest apprenticeship employers. It was our ‘bigger picture’ insight into employer challenges around social mobility that we were on the panel to share.

The discussion was hugely valuable. The webinar was attended by around 300 apprenticeship employers, and the conversation was brought to life by a panel that also included a former BBC apprentice, and social mobility recruitment leads from the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defence.

With these challenging, far-reaching topics and those panellists, a single webinar was never going to feel long enough. That’s why I wanted to dig a little deeper into one of the questions.

“What are the most common challenges employers come to you with around outreach and hiring, and what do you think would be the biggest game-changer to make apprenticeships more accessible for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds?”

I’ll start with the first part of the question.

Every day we have open, involved conversations with apprenticeship employers of all sizes – and there are common stumbling blocks around outreach and recruitment for social mobility. These include:

  • Finding/reaching the most disadvantaged – how to share messaging with schools in key geographies, and how to reach people once they are outside of the schooling system
  • How to speak to those people, and how to address their barriers/issues with confidence
  • High drop-out rates during application processes, often due to time (for people who perhaps need to be in paid employment asap), or due to stages in the process that aren’t accessible in some way
  • People from less advantaged backgrounds self-selecting out of applying for even entry level roles at prestigious/well-known institutions
  • Cultural, familial or social biases against apprenticeships.

The answers to some of these challenges can be surprisingly straightforward, and there are quick wins here that don’t require serious capital spend or far-reaching organisational change.

For example:

  • Think about how and where vacancies are advertised. Where do the people you want to reach look? How do they consume media and how do they search for jobs? Consider the language, imagery and calls to action you’re using, and the message they send to people about the kind of applicants these roles are ‘for’.
  • Even small changes to application processes can impact how well those processes accommodate talent from less advantaged backgrounds. Changes like advertising details around pay and flexible working, and making applications skills/character traits/potential based, rather than qualifications based, can make a huge difference.

(There’s a bigger conversation here around training providers removing formal maths and English requirements as entry criteria for programmes – but that’s a topic for another day.)

What do you think would be the biggest game-changer to make apprenticeships more accessible for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds?”

My answer is simple: companies of all sizes need buy in to addressing this agenda from every level of the business.

When we talk about ‘buy in’ we mean having the willingness to platform disadvantaged voices, listen and learn, reflect on current processes, and affect change where it’s needed.

Apprenticeships and early careers teams are in a position to make changes – often small, often inexpensive – to processes that can add up to a significant culture shift, but senior level buy in is essential for ensuring that this agenda is properly respected and resourced.

Next Steps

If you’re ready to make these type of changes and are passionate about using apprenticeships to drive social mobility, diversity and inclusion in your recruitment, reach out and talk to us about The Genie Programme – Amazing Apprenticeships' new social mobility/D&I programme.

Join sector-leading employers including Coca-Cola and AstraZeneca to learn to address the key issues with sensitivity, confidence, and drive real change in your organisation.

"We're really excited as a business about this programme – there's nothing else out there like it. It's specifically for apprenticeships and early careers professionals who want to improve access to opportunity and use their programmes to drive social mobility and workforce diversity. After the year we've all had, it feels like this is needed now more than ever.” Sharon Blyfield, Coca-Cola European Partners


You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Shahjahan Shamim shared a photo. 16 hours 59 minutes ago

Shahjahan Shamim is one of the known names when it comes to emerging singers and musicians. Besides being a successful YouTuber, he tried his luck... Show more

Shahjahan Shamim had a status update on Twitter yesterday

RT @SrBachchan: T 3975 - .. travelled .. and the mahurat of first day tomorrow .. a new film a new beginning , a new environ .. 'NEW' never…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page