The inaugural conference welcomed 100 changemakers from across the apprenticeship sector to The Foundling Museum in London, to explore how to widen access to apprenticeships for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Kriss Akabusi MBE set the tone for the day, offering an inspiring account of his journey from care, via The Army, to Olympic gold track and field medalist. Weaving his lived experience into sage advice around working with young people facing challenges, Akabusi inspired the Genie Live audience to be individuals who recognise potential, identify promise and make change possible.
As one delegate said, Akabusi is “more than a ‘care leaver’, he is a ‘care leader!”. Another added, “Kriss Akabusi’s opening discussion was hugely thought-provoking and inspiring.” With a third noting “Kriss’ session was ‘off-the-scale motivational.”
Workshops were then the order of the day with interactive sessions and presentations delivered by organisations including The Sutton Trust, Sainsbury’s, Wickes and Pret a Manger to name just four.
Employers and training providers, some with already established and robust social mobility focussed apprenticeship programmes, others partway through their journey, offered frank and open presentations to inspire discussion around what could be possible as delegates had the opportunity to explore what might work within their own organisations.
“Lots of thought-provoking discussions, fantastic workshops and inspiring insights. It was great to network with like-minded people and create new connections in an evergrowing sector of early careers, whilst focussing on social mobility, diversity and inclusion.” Patsy Beaumont, Early Careers Development Specialist, Drax Group.
“It has been brilliant, I have really thought a lot about things I can take away and put into action when I get back to the office, particularly around Levy transfer and how I can make an impact. It’s been amazing.” Cherilyn Wilson, Early Careers Manager, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
“It’s been amazing. Such a packed agenda. Brilliant networking. Everyone is keen to share, really generous with their advice and in wanting to make apprenticeships a better place. Really inspiring.” Karen Kelly, Karen Kelly Consulting.
The workshop schedule was complemented with an apprentice panel session for the entire audience, hosted by Jonny Hoyle, Development Lead at North Yorkshire County Council, alongside apprentices Olivia Grimsley of Amazon and Louise Faircloth of North Yorkshire County Council who offered an open account of their own experiences
“The apprenticeship panel was absolutely brilliant.”
“The apprenticeship panel speakers (were) so impactful.”
“Olivia and Louise were the best speakers of the day (apart from Kriss!)”
Guests asked to sum up the day in one word said ‘inspiring, energetic, awesome, aspiring, incredible, brilliant, amazing, motivating, insightful.’
“Genie Live is just a small taste of what a small number of employers experience each year on The Genie Programme. We wanted to bring a little of the learning of the programme to a bigger audience and inspire even more organisations to look at the opportunities that apprenticeships present in for those individuals who may be facing personal challenges of barriers,” said Anna Morrison CBE, founder of Amazing Apprenticeships.
“It was brilliant to see Genie Programme delegates past and present in the audience as well as presenting what they have achieved. The feedback from the sector has been amazing with many asking when the next conference will be scheduled and enquiring about The Genie Programme and the opportunities it invokes. We are looking forward to inspiring even more individuals around what they could achieve from the role they are in.”
Places on the Genie Programme 2023 are currently open for application. Find out more at https://www.genieprogramme.com/