National Apprenticeship Week is a five-day nationwide event organised to promote the talents and skills of apprentices and encourage vocational training in the UK.
The NAW’s fourth edition will include conferences and workshops for businesses and future apprentices that will be held throughout England until Friday.
The advantages of training apprentices are numerous. Not only do they bring a fresh perspective to a company and constitute an important base of cooperation between the academic world and the job market, they also attract more customers – according to a survey by the National Apprenticeship Service, 80% of people are more likely to use a company if it has apprentices.
Many businesses are contributing to the development of young Britons’ interest in training in engineering, manufacturing and other similar areas. Higher university fees are also likely to contribute pushing more people towards apprenticeships.
Skills Minister John Hayes and Business Secretary Vince Cable urged more employers to “follow the lead” of those companies that are investing in training programmes, effectively paving the way for the creation of a new generation of skilled workers.
This year, British Airways is expanding its engineering training programme to take on 120 students. Superdrug, British Gas and Procter and Gamble will create, combined, thousands of new apprentiships places; British Telecom’s focus on skills will translate into 250 apprenticeships.
BT chairman Sir Michael Rake said: “Apprenticeships are undoubtedly good for BT’s business and play a key role in ensuring that we maintain and develop a highly skilled workforce. More importantly, for young people, they’re a great way to transform their raw enthusiasm into valuable skills that will serve them well wherever their careers take them.”
Supermarket chain Morrison’s will train 12,000 this year, while Jaguar Land Rover announced that it will double the number of Advanced (Level 3) Apprenticeship places available this year and that the 1,500 new recruits currently joining the workforce at the company’s Halewood plant to build the new Range Rover Evoque will be trained up to an Intermediate (Level 2) Apprenticeship.
The Intermediate training was developed in partnership with Semta and the National Apprenticeship Service. Richard Else, operations director at Jaguar Land Rover in Halewood, said: “As our new vehicles become more sophisticated and more luxurious, and as the business strives to
reach ever higher quality standards, we recognise that we need to continue to invest in a highly trained workforce.”
Training in the automotive sector remains one of the most popular. Stirling Wood, head of skills development at the Institute of the Motor Industry, said: “The retail automotive industry is an attractive sector to work in which is open to all and has very clear career progression pathways.”