Minister of State for the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills
National Apprenticeship Week is about shining a light on the amazing opportunities apprenticeships give to people and to businesses. They are a chance for young people to gain hands on experience in the workplace whilst getting a top class qualification.
Apprenticeships can take you anywhere…
From fashion to food, engineering to defence, I want to bang the drum for apprenticeships. Over the last year we have introduced some substantial reforms to make apprenticeships bigger and better but we can’t stand still. I want to make our apprenticeship programme the best in the world.
We have been putting employers in the driving seat in designing apprenticeships. Businesses now have a say on how apprenticeships run and what they have to offer. This new type of apprenticeship known as a Trailblazer is already being supported by over 1,300 employers who have designed and published 205 new apprenticeship standards. It’s great to see businesses grabbing the opportunity to take on apprentices knowing they will help their businesses grow.
We have gathered the top names in business from Channel 4 to Barclays, Fujitsu to Wates Construction to get out into the business community and champion apprenticeships through the Apprenticeship Delivery Board.
National Apprenticeship Week is about opening up opportunity and showcasing the excellent work that has been taking place all over the country.
Over the past 20 years we have seen investment in training and skills decline, which is why we are introducing an apprenticeship levy to ensure a highly skilled workforce for the future. Coming into force in April 2017, the levy will only be paid by employers with a pay bill of £3 million or more, that’s less than 2% of employers. The funding will be in the hands of employers through the Digital Apprenticeship Service which will give them genuine control of the training they buy.
Building on momentum
Over the last Parliament, we had 2.4 million apprenticeship starts and we know for the vast majority this means a long and lasting job. I want to continue to build on this enthusiasm and momentum and create 3 million more apprenticeships by 2020. The opportunities don’t stop there. If you don’t think you’re ready for an apprenticeship you could start a traineeship. It’s a great way to prepare you for the world of work.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job has been meeting enthusiastic apprentices. I recently donned a hard hat and goggles and met construction and engineering apprentices in the Black Country. It was fantastic to see them at work and to see such a large cohort of female engineering apprentices too – they were giving the boys a run for their money! No longer are apprenticeships seen as “second-best” to a university education, they are a real alternative for those who want to get on and build a career.
Apprenticeships are the best of the best. National Apprenticeship Week is about opening up opportunity and showcasing the excellent work that has been taking place all over the country. It’s about giving young people the confidence to say yes. So why not see where an apprenticeship can take you!