Top employers who are helping to lead the ‘apprenticeship revolution’, get more people into skilled jobs and boost British business will be celebrated through a new leader board and quality mark, Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced today.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (4 -8 March), an annual celebration of the transformative effect high-quality apprenticeships can have on people’s lives, the Education Secretary announced plans to create:

  • A new leader board of top apprenticeship employers – the new rankings will be independently judged and published annually and are expected to rate the Top 100 large apprentice employers as well as the top 50 SMEs; and
  • A new quality mark for apprenticeships – developed in partnership with Community Interest Company ‘Investors in People’ to shine a light on high-quality apprentice employers.

The new leader board will recognise and promote outstanding apprentice employers, encourage employers to improve the quality of their apprentice offer, and help potential apprentices and parents to easily identify opportunities with high performing employers.

The quality mark will be a symbol for accredited employers to display and will serve as an assurance of excellence.

The government overhauled the apprenticeship system almost two years ago - working closely with leading businesses to design new high-quality apprenticeship opportunities known as ‘standards’ so apprentices gain the skills that employers need to that will help them land great jobs or progress in their careers.

Apprenticeships are now longer, higher-quality, with more off-the-job training and a more rigorous assessment at the end. There are now more than 400 apprenticeship standards available in everything from accountancy, fashion and law to teaching, nursing and plumbing.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

“We’ve transformed apprenticeships in this country. But that wouldn’t have been possible without the employers who have been at the forefront of developing new high- quality apprenticeship opportunities that provide great training, and the employers who have embraced the huge benefits apprenticeships are bringing to their workplaces.

“This National Apprenticeship Week, I want to celebrate their contribution - giving thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to learn new skills and secure an exciting career.”

Almost 164,000 people started on one of the new higher quality apprenticeship standards in 2017/18, a more than six-fold increase on the previous year.

New analysis by the Department for Education has further underlined the importance employers are placing on apprenticeships after it showed that the top ten employers from the government’s Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (AAN) employ a total of 47,000 apprentices; with an additional 100,000 apprenticeship opportunities in the pipeline.

The AAN is a national network of around 500 employers across the country including Lloyds Banking Group, Gatwick Airport and Nissan.

Jason Holt CBE, Chairman of the AAN said:

“It’s absolutely crucial that we continue to connect more employers with apprenticeships. Apprenticeship Ambassador Network members have seen the huge benefits of apprenticeships for employers and individuals. Our advocacy role does have a definite impact on take-up with employers.”

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 4 to 8 March 2019 and aims to highlight the benefits of apprenticeships to employers, individuals, local communities and the wider economy. The ‘Blaze a Trail’ themed week will see a range of activities and events being hosted across the country to celebrate apprenticeships.

In January, the Department for Education launched its new campaign ‘Fire it Up’ to help challenge outdated perceptions of apprenticeships and raise awareness of the huge variety of apprenticeship options available for people of all ages and backgrounds.

The new campaign includes national TV and social media adverts, and a new website that provides helpful advice and information as well as access to thousands of apprenticeship opportunities across the country.

In April 2017 the government introduced the apprenticeship levy to create long term sustainable funding for apprenticeships.The levy is giving employers a real opportunity to invest in high-quality training, helping to grow their business and get the skilled workforce they need to thrive and succeed. Only around 2% of all employers in England pay the levy, but this investment has supported almost 50 per cent of all new apprenticeship starts in 2017/18.

Currently, levy-paying employers can transfer up to 10% of their annual apprenticeship funds to other employers if they choose. From April this will increase 25% to provide even greater flexibility for businesses to spend their funds, and so they can support smaller employers in their supply chain to provide high-quality apprenticeship training.

The government is transforming technical education so there are range of high- quality choices on offer post-16. This includes working with industry to create more high-quality apprenticeships opportunities for people of all ages, and introducing new T Levels from 2020 – the technical equivalent to A Levels –so that young people learn the skills and get the experience needed to land a great job in a skilled profession, go onto a higher level apprenticeship or university. 

The Department for Education is developing the new league table and will announce further details in due course.

Investors in People will consult with a range of stakeholders including; apprentices, employers, parents, providers and industry bodies to support with the development of the framework assessment criteria.

Only around 2% of employers pay the levy, but almost 50 per cent (49.5 per cent) of starts in 2017/18 and over 46% of starts in the first quarter of 2018cg/19 were supported by the levy.

The top ten AAN employers include:

  1. Ministry of Defence
  2. Lloyds Banking Group
  3. BT
  4. BAE Systems
  5. Nissan
  6. Sodexo
  7. Atalian Servest
  8. Lookers plc
  9. Volvo
  10.  The Co-op Group

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

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 May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 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.

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