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LSC launches fifth apprenticeship awards

The search is on for the nation’s top apprentice employers as the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) launches its fifth annual Apprenticeship Awards. Employers of all sizes and from all sectors of industry are encouraged to enter the prestigious national awards.

Speaking at the launch event in London this week, Skills Minister David Lammy MP, said: “Apprenticeships are integral to combating the nation’s skills shortages. They stimulate innovation, give businesses the skills they need and provide opportunities for individuals to fulfil their potential. The government has recently announced that there will be 500,000 new Apprenticeship places by 2020 so that even more employers and individuals can reap the benefits. The Apprenticeship programme makes a real difference to all concerned, and I”m delighted to attend the fifth national Apprenticeship Awards launch tonight.”

The Awards are held annually to celebrate the success of apprentices who have made a real difference to their own future and to the organisation they work for. They also recognise the work of employers who are successfully tackling skills shortages to build their future workforce through Apprenticeships.

Chris Banks, Chair of the Learning and Skills Council added: “Apprenticeships are a more attractive option than ever before for those employers wanting to take control of the future of their business by investing in skills. Today, more than 130,000 employers across the country are using Apprenticeships to improve their business performance, whilst giving talented individuals the opportunity to achieve their goals.

Entries to the Awards have increased year on year and we have received around 4,000 entries since the first Apprenticeship Awards in 2004. We are now calling on all apprentice employers across the country to enter our fifth national Awards.”

The Awards highlight the popularity of Apprenticeships amongst employers of all sizes, with past winners including BAE Systems and British Gas in the Large Employer category, with the telecoms giant, BT, winning in 2007. Smaller firms also triumphed when electrical engineering company Beere Electrical Services Ltd was crowned Micro Employer of the Year 2006.

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Talking of their win, Dave Walsh, Head of BT Apprenticeships commented: “Winning Large Employer of the Year 2007 was a great tribute to BT’s investment in our apprentices. Our Apprenticeship programme is crucial for future proofing our business, delivering a clear return on investment. We will definitely be entering again this year.”

Employers are eligible to enter for one of four categories depending on their company size; Micro (1-9 employees), Small (10-49 employees), Medium (50-249 employees) and Large (250+ employees). They are assessed on a number of criteria including implementation of the Apprenticeship programme, clear demonstration of the way Apprenticeships have benefited their business and the level of support provided to their apprentices.

The Awards Premier Sponsor for the fourth consecutive year is City & Guilds. Chris Humphries, director-general of City & Guilds commented: “Any business can only be as good as the skills of its workforce, so it is great to see that the Apprenticeship Awards showcase the very best in staff training. As well as applauding individual and employer successes, these Awards are a testament to the real economic benefits apprentices can bring.”

To enter the Awards, or for more information, visit apprenticeships.org.uk/awards or call 0800 954 8896. Deadline for entries is 29 February 2008. The Apprenticeship Awards will be held on 10 July 2008 at the Royal Horticultural Halls in central London.

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