From education to employment

Chancellor champions power of apprenticeships during visit to Microsoft HQ

THE CHANCELLOR has praised the “outstanding” work of apprentices and hailed their crucial role in boosting the future prosperity of the UK economy.

During a visit to Microsoft’s UK Headquarters in Reading earlier today (Friday) to mark National Apprenticeships Week, Rishi Sunak spoke of the important role apprentices are playing in driving our economic recovery and how they have been a cornerstone of the successful Plan for Jobs.

His comments came as the latest GDP figures showed the UK’s economy was continuing to rebound with 7.5% growth last year – the strongest growth since the Second World War.

During his visit, the Chancellor met a number of Microsoft’s digital apprentices and the firm’s CEO Clare Barclay, before hosting a “Celebrating Success” panel where he took questions.

Mr Sunak also dropped in on a “hackathon” that challenged Microsoft apprentices and executives to explore ways to build on the company’s work with partners and talent, as well as maximising digital technology. The tech firm’s Apprenticeship Network has helped 30,000 apprentices to build a technology career since 2010.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said:

“I was delighted to visit Microsoft’s UK headquarters to see first-hand the positive impact that apprentices can have on companies large and small, from all sectors and areas of the UK.

“Apprenticeships are a cornerstone of our Plan for Jobs and play an essential role in boosting our economy, creating jobs and transforming people’s lives.”

Clare Barclay, Microsoft CEO said:

“Since launching in 2010, the Microsoft Apprenticeship Network has helped 30,000 apprentices to build a technology career.

“Apprenticeships combine a job with qualification-led training and the opportunity to put skills into practice. This is a powerful combination that is unlocking opportunity and growth for individuals and employers in every sector of the economy – from finance, fashion and healthcare, to manufacturing, charities, sports clubs and government.

“We want to help people get the right skills to thrive in technology careers, and employers find the right talent to help drive business success and UK prosperity. Together, we can build a future based on long-term sustainable growth.”

Luke Young, an apprentice and Cloud Architect at Microsoft, said:

Being an apprentice at Microsoft has led to so many exciting opportunities. I am working for one of the world’s leading technology companies while learning new skills in an area I’m passionate about and gaining qualifications that will set me up for success in the future. An apprenticeship was the right path for me, and I’m looking forward to growing my career at Microsoft.”

Apprenticeships are central to the government’s Plan for Jobs with over 90% of apprentices remaining in employment or going onto further training after completing their apprenticeship.

Yesterday (Thursday) the government announced that new flexi-job apprenticeships will soon be available to create opportunities for more people to earn while they learn in industries that boost the economy.

Up to 1,500 apprentices will be recruited on the new scheme, which will allow people to complete short placements across sectors such as construction and creative during their apprenticeship, opening up a new paid training route to a career in these industries.

Almost £5 million has been awarded by the government to support employers including the BBC and NHS to offer the flexi-job apprenticeship scheme and support recruitment of apprentices.

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