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"No one should be denied opportunity to learn new skills"

OPPORTUNITIES: Bringing awareness to apprenticeships for young people

NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP Week ran from March 4-8 and was all about celebrating apprentices and the organisations that employ them.

Apprentices make a huge contribution to business and employers bringing enthusiasm, passion and new ideas into the workplace.

One of the best parts of my job – and especially during this week – is meeting apprentices of all ages and backgrounds and hearing their amazing stories.

No one should be denied the opportunity to learn new skills and go on to have a great job and career. Whether it’s a young person looking at their next steps, someone who is looking to get back into work after a break or someone who fancies a career change, an apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity.

They offer people the chance to earn while they learn with the option to train at every level right up to degree level in a huge range of professions such as aerospace engineering, cyber security, data science, law, nursing, and construction.

We overhauled the apprenticeships system almost two years ago - working with employers to create new high-quality apprenticeship programmes and introduced the Levy to create long term sustainable funding for apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are now longer, higher-quality, with more off-the-job training and a proper assessment at the end.

It is also encouraging to see the number of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds starting an apprenticeship has risen with 11.2% starting an apprenticeship in 2017/18 up from 9.9% in 2011/12.

However, there is much more to do to make sure people from BAME backgrounds do not miss out. We have set an ambitious target to increase the pro- portion of apprenticeships started by people of BAME backgrounds by 20% by 2020.

We’ve set up our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network (ADCN) to encourage employers to take on more apprentices from BAME backgrounds.

The National Apprenticeship Service has also been working with Greater Manchester, London, Bristol, Birmingham and Leicester areas to help promote the take-up of apprenticeships among these groups too.

Our new apprenticeships campaign and website ‘Fire it Up’ is also helping to challenge outdated perceptions of apprenticeships. We want to raise awareness of the huge variety of options available for people of all ages and backgrounds across the country.

There are over 600 events taking place around the country during National Apprenticeship Week, so do take a look at our [Events Map] to see where you can get involved or add your own event and help spread the word! Whoever you are, wherever you’re from there is an apprenticeship opportunity out there for you.

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