Following the PM’s announcement yesterday that 35,000 more apprenticeships are to be created, the Learning and Skills Council has announced the launch of its 2009 Annual Apprenticeship Awards.
Firms that offer apprenticeships are being urged to enter to in order to receive recognition for the work they have put into such schemes and the successes they have enjoyed as a result. There are also awards available for the apprentices themselves.
It is hoped the Awards, now in their sixth year, will provide further illustration of the benefits for firms in utilising apprentices and will inspire more firms to get involved.
Apprenticeships are seen by the government as the best way to counteract a vocational skills shortage that is rife throughout engineering practices and is expected to peak around the middle of the coming decade.
Launching the 2009 awards, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham urged the nation to get behind Apprenticeships:
“This government has rescued and expanded Apprenticeships. Ten years ago only 65,000 people started an Apprenticeship by 2007/08 this number had increased almost three and a half times to 225,000.
“And we are determined to do more. In the Queen’s speech we announced that we are going to legislate so that every suitably qualified young person has an entitlement to an Apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are becoming a mainstream option for young people and adults who want to get on. And we hope that by the end of the next decade one in five young people will start an Apprenticeship.
“The LSC’s annual awards are a fantastic opportunity for employers to showcase the best Apprenticeship schemes and celebrate the talents of their apprentices and I encourage employers to come forward and take part.”
Chris Banks, Chair of the Learning and Skills Council added: “In the current economic climate, it is crucial to recognise the importance of training programmes such as Apprenticeships.
“The Apprenticeship Awards offer companies a fantastic opportunity to showcase the business benefits of employing apprentices. Entries to the awards have increased year on year and we have received well over 4,000 entries since the first Apprenticeship Awards in 2004.”
The awards categories for firms are defined by size: Micro (1-9 employees); Small (10-49 employees); Medium (50-249 employees); Large (250-4,999 employees); and the new Macro size category that will cover businesses with over 5,000 employees .
For apprentices there are three categories: Apprentice of the Year; Advanced Apprentice of the Year; and Young Apprentice of the Year.
For more information or to enter, visit apprenticeships.org.uk/awards or call 0800 954 8896. The deadline for entries is February 27 and the winners will be revealed at a ceremony in London on July 16.