National Apprenticeship Week 2016: THE ROUND UP

National Apprenticeship Week got off to a flying start last week with an opening event at London’s Shard showing how young people can ‘rise to the top’ through apprenticeships and traineeships.

We’re now out the other side of what proved to be a very exciting week to be involved in the space - we’ve heard a lot, and we’ve learnt a lot - and so, following our introduction to NAW2016, we thought we’d utilise this week to offer a full round-up of what went on last week. Here goes:

Monday: National Apprenticeship Week 2016 kicks off with a launch event in London, aptly named ‘Rise to the Top’. Organised by the National Apprenticeship Service the event showcased how individuals and businesses can rise to the top through apprenticeships. To mark the start of the week, numerous organisations pledged to recruit more and more apprentices; BT, 700; Deloitte, 200; Microsoft, 450; Kwik Fit, 150; and a whopping 10,000 at Greene King.

The Milton Keynes Arena hosted its brilliantly-timed National Apprenticeship Showwith over 100 employers - making it one of, if not the largest event of NAW 2016.

Compass Catering held their very own Masterchef event where eight apprentices competed for the prestigious title. Tony Allen from the Skills Funding Agency judged and presented the awards at the event, marking the company’s commitment to 1500 more apprentices positions.

Tuesday: BT hosted an interactive breakfast at the BT Tower which showcased stories from their apprentices, past and present.

Aintree Racecourse hosted the North West’s Large Employer Conference 2016: Towards the 2020 Vision for Apprenticeships. The conference looked at the evolving apprenticeship landscape, since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and Digital Apprenticeship Service, and new apprenticeship standards through Trailblazers. Attendees had the opportunity to network with other NW employers and the National Apprenticeship Service, who organised the event.

Wednesday: Greater London Authority and Tech City, brought in Nadhim Zahawi MP to host a James Bond themed event called ‘Licence to Skill’ (brilliant!) at the London film museum, with over 200 employees from the creative, digital and tech sectors.

The Tees Valley held their very own apprenticeship challenge for apprentices from across the region. After battling hard for the prestigious ‘Apprenticeship Champion’ title, Darlington and Redcar, with Cleveland coming in a close second.

And of course, we wouldn't want to shy away from the action here at Class Careers. We held our very own event - the first of its kind, in fact! - with three major employers chatting with young people all across the country. That's right, we had Microsoft, Schroders and Nestle talking about their company, apprenticeships and school leaver schemes and answering questions from students in various locations around England. Oh, and popped in too... just in case there we're students who were a little unsure of their career options! It was a fantastic session, and we'll be sure be running more of these collective events in the future... so watch this space! 

Thursday: Rick Stein opened his famous Padstow seafood restaurant up to a couple of MPs - Nick Boles MP and Scott Mann - who got cooking with his apprentices, before visiting the Eden Project and did some planting with the apprentices there.

Up in the North, Redcar and Cleveland Countryside Apprentices worked collectively on a tidy-up operation on the South Bank of the Tees.

Friday: The big swap! An apprentice in Lancashire swapped roles for the day with the construction director of Redrow Homes. Whilst the big boss got his hands dirty drilling out joists and fitting pipes as a plumber, the 17 year old apprentice got out his best suit for a day at the office!

In the news:

  • As of October, we will see the national minimum wage increase by 20p, as well as the rate for apprentices go up by 57%. Read more here.
  • A new report released by the Young Women’s Trust has announced that despite the increase in apprentices, women are still being left behind.  
  • Last year, we saw Nicky Morgan announce the Careers and Enterprise Company, working with companies to deliver effective careers advice. The fund of £5m was up for grabs, and this week the winners have been announced. Find out more here.
  • And of course, the budget was announced....

Bringing it all together
It really was a fantastic National Apprenticeship Week - and it’s great to see a lot more organisations coming on board and supporting apprenticeships within their own company. During the week, the NAW pledge-o-meter saw a total of 32,033 pledges made… that’s 30,259 apprenticeships and 1774 traineeships from employers committing to creating new opportunities - that’s almost 10,000 more than last year!

Starbucks, who have pledged to take on a further 1000 apprentices said:

“We are really proud of our apprentices - they have really inspired many partners and leaders in our business and we have grown our offer because of them. With this expansion we want to be an employer of choice for apprenticeships and youth opportunity. We aim to offer more than 20 different Apprenticeship Frameworks, supporting another 1000 young people into our business by 2020.”

I think this quote from Carol Muldoon, VP for Partner Resources at Starbucks really sums up how the traditional view on apprenticeships is changing - for the better - and companies are starting to realise how beneficial young people can be towards growing their business. Fantastic!