Today (9th February 2021) I was delighted to take part in the APPG for Apprenticeships event to celebrate National Apprenticeships Week: in itself, an excellent initiative.

It was great to hear such positive support and words from the Minister for Apprenticeships, Gillian Keegan MP to kick off the event.

The extent, scope and possibilities within the apprenticeships model was perfectly demonstrated through the range of speakers we heard from. 

We had excellent presentations from apprentices from: Amazon, BAE Systems, KPMG, London South Bank University, the University of Salford, the Co-Op, WMG at the University of Warwick.

Alongside the positive stories, we also heard about:

  • the barriers to entry which can exist;
  • the need to change general attitudes around apprenticeships;
  • better and clearer careers advice, not least on the apprenticeship opportunity; and,
  • the opportunity for far greater inclusion of mature students and those from all backgrounds and geographies, as it was perfectly put “apprenticeships are for everyone.”  

So much of what the apprentices set out echoed the findings and recommendations of our 2016 Select Committee report into social mobility. Current inequality between academic and vocational education is unfair, restricts social mobility and does not meet the UK’s economic needs. Our recommendations remain relevant and included the need for a ‘gold standard’ careers advice to inform young people about all the options available to them and increasing employer involvement with schools in the transition to work.  

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week this year is “Build the Future” and if we are to recover well as a nation from the Covid crisis, if we are to be a more inclusive nation, if we are to be a nation where everyone, at any stage, at any age, has the opportunity to achieve their potential then apprenticeships must be a key part of building the future. Let’s all promote apprenticeships and ensure they play an even more extensive role throughout our society, economy, and communities.

Read more about Chris’s Select Committee work

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