Even more young people will be able to ‘get in and go far’ with an apprenticeship, as more than 23,000 new apprenticeships have been pledged by employers as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

From BT committing to hiring 700 apprentices, Microsoft Partners announcing plans to recruit 3500, Halfords pledging 500, Greene King announcing 2000 vacancies and the Royal Air Force 1000 pledges have been made by hundreds of businesses around the country.  Other companies that have pledged new apprenticeships include Boots, Cap Gemini, Barratt Developments, Travis Perkins, Kwik-Fit, The Kier Group, The Civil Service, Aldi, Network Rail, B&M Bargains, Santander and Amey.  Lloyds Banking Group also announced that it is to recruit 100 higher apprentices this year.

A number of the businesses pledging new apprenticeships are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs,). This includes Derry Building Services, Berthon Boat Company and Paw-Fect Grooming.

Traineeships, which give young people the work preparation training, English, maths and work experience needed to get an apprenticeship or other job, also got a boost during the Week.  Employers including BT and the BBC announced plans to offer more traineeship opportunities.

The benefits of employing apprentices were revealed in a Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) report released earlier this week. It found 5 million consumers prefer to do business with apprentice employers, whilst the typical apprentice is estimated to deliver productivity gains of over £10,000 per annum.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“The success of National Apprenticeship Week 2015 and these 23,000 pledges highlights just how popular apprenticeships have become.

“More and more young people, parents, teachers and employers are recognising the value of learning on the job. With apprenticeships in everything from rail engineering to TV production they really are now a fast track into a successful career”

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

Apprenticeships deliver for employers, young people, adults and the economy. The vacancies announced this week will provide life-changing opportunities for prospective apprentices across the country as well as helping businesses to unlock their potential. The continued commitment by employers to offer traineeships will also enable thousands more young people to prepare for their future careers.”

The Week also saw the launch of degree apprenticeships.  Now for first time, apprentices will be able to achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree while earning and learning. Additionally, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, used the Week to outline the rise in women taking up apprenticeships in the last five years. An evaluation of the traineeship programme was also released showing that in the first year of the programme 50% of trainees went on to an apprenticeship or employment, and a further 17% undertook further learning after their traineeship. It also stated that 84% of training providers and 94% of employers consider traineeships an effective way of increasing young people’s chances of finding paid jobs and apprenticeships.

Key events during the Week included a launch event at the London Eye attended by Vince Cable. The Business Secretary met employers and apprentices and spoke about the future of apprenticeships. A Made by Apprentices event at the House of Commons, hosted by Jason Holt CBE and attended by Skills Minister Nick Boles, focused on the benefits that apprentices can bring to small businesses and showcased some of the products and services created by apprentices working for SMEs. 

Apprenticeships in the banking, legal and insurance services sectors were the focus of a reception hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister at Admiralty House on Wednesday, while a ‘thank you’ reception for Trailblazer employers involved setting the new apprenticeship standards took place at Elstree on Thursday. It was announced at the event that more than 200 new employers have joined the 1,000 plus organisations already designing apprenticeships.

Now in its eighth year, National Apprenticeship Week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.  The overarching theme for 2015 was a challenge to us all to think about how much we really know about apprenticeships, and over 3,400 people tested their knowledge of apprenticeships with our online quiz.

There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice, or start an apprenticeship.  And if you are a small business employing less than 50 employees you might be eligible for a grant of £1500 to help you take on an apprentice.  Visit if you’re an employer or if you want to find out more about becoming an apprentice or call 08000 150 600.

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