With only months to go until government’s self-imposed goal and timeline to "increase uptake amongst BAME audiences by 20%”, data shows there is still a long way to go

Apprentice Nation launches today to reach and inspire young people from all backgrounds to start their careers though an apprenticeship

A new platform, Apprentice Nation, launches today (19 Mar) to help address the shortfall in apprenticeship uptake and inspire young people to take up apprenticeships. With apprenticeship starts down 28% on the previous year, only 11% of those were from diverse backgrounds[1]. This is despite the government’s own commitment to increase the proportion of apprenticeship starts by people from diverse backgrounds by 20% by 2020 – a target date now rapidly approaching.

The figures show how more effort is needed to make those who may not feel inspired, or simply disenfranchised, disrespected and disempowered by the job market, aware of apprenticeships. As well as the government’s self-imposed targets being missed, it also means not enough businesses are successfully using apprenticeships to diversify their workforces.

Apprentice Nation is the coming together of RockCorps, who have a proven track record of inspiring young people to take action through music gigs, and WhiteHat, Euan Blair and Sophie Adelman’s start-up building an outstanding alternative to university through apprenticeships. Apprentice Nation is determined to engage a generation of potential future leaders who see apprenticeships as their route to success.

Stephen Greene, CEO of RockCorps and Producer of Apprentice Nation, said:

“There is this upside-down reality at the moment where businesses are hungry for brilliant young people from diverse backgrounds and with a variety of experiences, yet the way opportunities are presented means they’re often not reaching the very people they want.  

It’s crucial that young people from all walks of life can see themselves in the roles and know that the employer is looking for wonderfully passionate people just like them. This is why WhiteHat and RockCorps have created Apprentice Nation – we’re using RockCorps’ method of inspiring through music and culture in order to engage young people alongside WhiteHat’s progressive apprenticeship model to shake things up for the better”.

Euan Blair, CEO of WhiteHat and co-founder of Apprentice Nation said:

“We’re really excited to be launching Apprentice Nation – a model which will allow us to build up and then amplify the apprenticeship brand and reach a much wider range of people from different backgrounds across the UK. There are some really incredible careers you can pursue by taking the apprenticeship route, and that’s something for everyone to be excited about. We’re enabling young people to be part of something we think will play a defining role in shaping the future of work.”

Zaynah is a WhiteHat apprentice, working as a Digital Marketing Apprentice at Facebook:

“I could have gone to university like my older siblings but it wasn't right for me – I wanted to go straight to starting my career. I’ve always felt that if you want to be successful then you need to take some risks so I decided to go for it.

"I'm now a Facebook apprentice learning key skills and developing my knowledge every day, whilst having an amazing time. I really feel like I've found the best route for me and I'm proud of my accomplishments so far. University was always pushed as a more valuable option in school, which is why many of my classmates didn't consider the apprenticeship route. This is a shame because they now see what I am doing and wish they had considered this path too.” 

Apprentice Nation’s first gig will be held at Under the Bridge in London on 16th May, featuring 6LACK, the alternative R&B star from Atlanta who is three times Grammy nominated. There will be gigs every six months in different locations around the country. Every young person who attends an action day with Apprentice Nation will qualify for a ticket – the only way to get access.

6LACK says:

“I’m very happy to be supporting Apprentice Nation and playing a show in the UK. I know as well as anyone that there is no one set way to get to where you want to be. We need to do more to let young people know what’s out there and what opportunities are available to them so that they can achieve their goals and dreams.”

There are almost 800,000 young people aged 16-24 in the UK who are not in employment, education or training

2017/18 data shows that apprenticeship starts have dropped 28% in the previous year: 376,000 starts - 119,000 less than the previous year. This is an all-time low.

The same data shows that 11.2% of these from BAME backgrounds, equal to the previous year, 87% of those starting apprenticeships were white and that 83% of starts were in four key areas: Business, Administration & Law; Health, Public Services and Care; Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies; retail and Commercial Enterprise.

How it works

Action Days will be held nationwide for 500 applicants in each city, and include; three hours of invaluable advice on apprenticeships and interview tips, two hours of social action, at the end everyone earns a ticket to an exclusive concert.

Apprentice Nation’s first gig will be held at Under the Bridge in London on 16th May, featuring 6LACK, the alternative R&B star from Atlanta who is three times Grammy nominated.

There will be gigs every six months in different locations around the country. Every young person who attends an action day with Apprentice Nation will qualify for a ticket – the only way to get access.

About Apprentice NationThe platform from RockCorps, who have a proven track record of inspiring young people to take action through music gigs, and WhiteHat, Euan Blair and Sophie Adelman’s start-up designed to create an outstanding alternative to university.

Apprentice Nation is creating a movement to reboot apprenticeships and make them something that young people want to do.

About 6LACK: Pronounced “black,” the alternative R&B artist has long considered six an important number that is central to his identity: raised in Atlanta’s Zone 6 (hence the name 6LACK), the musician attributes his hometown as a major influence on his stage name as well as the spiritual significance of the number six. 6LACK joined management and creative collective  LVRN, signed a record deal with Interscope, and released his debut album Free 6lack in November 2016 which peaked at #34 on the Billboard 200 and included his 2x Platinum single “Prblms.”


Last year, he co-featured alongside Khalid and Ty Dolla $ign on “OTW” - The music video racking up over 103M views, and released his sophomore album East Atlanta Love Letter on September 14th, which debuted at #1 on Billboard R&B Album Charts. 6LACK was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2018 in the Best Urban Contemporary Album category and the Best Rap/Song Performance category, one in 2019 for "Best Rap/Sung Performance," has been on tracks with various influential musicians ranging from Syd to Kodak Black to T-Pain, Jhené Aiko, and many more, held critically acclaimed performances at festivals like Coachella and Governors Ball, and been featured in Billboard, Interview Magazine, and GQ, among others. 

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