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Progress to Excellence Ltd #BlazeATrail for new apprentices #NAW2019

AS NATIONAL Apprenticeship Week 2019 gets under way, Progress to Excellence Ltd is blazing a trail for young people to set them on the road to job success.

At a time when tens of thousands of apprenticeship opportunities are being made available throughout the country each month, the Birkenhead-headquartered national training provider believes there’s never been a better time to be an apprentice.

Chief Executive Damian Burdin said: “This year the theme of National Apprenticeship Week is Blaze a Trail and our aim is to challenge the outdated views many people may still have about apprenticeships.

“Apprentices are increasingly being acknowledged by more and more employers as a vital investment for the future of their business – either by taking them on as new staff or by developing existing employees to further their careers.

“With an explosion of industry-recognised and highly-rated apprenticeship schemes across most sectors throughout the country, the apprentice is becoming one of the most valuable assets a company can acquire.”

As part of the National Apprentice Week 2019 celebrations, Progress to Excellence Ltd is playing a leading part in the nationwide Fire It Up campaign to raise awareness of apprenticeships and celebrate the successes of the young people who have chosen to go down this job route.

At Wirral Youth Chamber’s Skills Show, which is being held on Wednesday, March 6 at The Hive Youth Zone in Birkenhead, they will be showcasing to local students and their families the benefits apprenticeships can have on individuals, employers, communities and the wider economy.

The Progress to Excellence Ltd team will also explain to visitors the reasons why apprenticeship participation is currently standing at a record level with more than 490,000 apprenticeship starts in the 2016/17 academic year, almost a quarter of these being taken up by those under the age of 19.

On average, 23,000 apprenticeship opportunities are listed nationally every month on the government’s apprenticeship information website and the previous year the number of online apprenticeship applications totalled more than 1,650,000.

Other figures also show that there were more than 1,670 degree level apprenticeship starts in 2016/17, including foundation degrees, HNDs and full honours degrees. These include job roles ranging from legal services to banking and engineering.

When it comes to job satisfaction, nearly all the apprentices questioned in a survey – 89 per cent – said they were satisfied with their apprenticeship overall and 97 per cent said their ability to do the job had improved because of the apprenticeship. The majority (92 per cent) of apprentices in work felt that their apprenticeship had had a positive impact on their career.

As far as income is concerned, achieving a Level 2 or Level 3 apprenticeship can, on average, boost earnings by 11 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. 

However, higher apprentices can earn £150,000 more, on average, over their lifetime compared to those with Level 3 vocational qualifications. 

Among employers surveyed, 87 per cent said they were satisfied with the apprenticeship programme, 76 per cent said that their productivity had improved and 75 per cent reported that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service.

Damian added: “It’s obvious that there’s never been a better time than now to look to apprenticeships for the overall benefit of the business and to create a highly skilled and satisfied workforce.

“It’s a means of introducing enthusiastic, energetic people with a fresh outlook into the world of work and giving them the skills to take the business into the future, trained and developed in the company’s own ethos and culture.”

“For the apprentices themselves, it’s a chance to earn while they learn, put them ahead in the jobs market of others who have chosen the university route instead.”

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