Apprenticeships should embrace diversity, says minister

Making sure that more people with disabilities or learning difficulties, and those from minorities, are able to benefit from apprenticeships is a priority for the Government, according to skills minister John Hayes.

At the launch of a government-backed marketing campaign to encourage more employers and young people to get involved in apprenticeships, Hayes said that he wanted to make sure everyone had the chance to “be their best” through access to apprenticeships.

He commented: “I want more disabled people, for example, to benefit from apprenticeships. I want more people with learning difficulties to be able to benefit from apprenticeships. I want more women to get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) apprenticeships. I want us to have more penetration into the minorities who are, at the moment, under-represented.”

The New Era for Apprenticeships Campaign, launched by the National Apprenticeship Service at a parliamentary reception last night, includes contributions from apprentices at firms such as BT, insurance brokers Bluefin and SEC Recruitment.

At the launch, it was also announced that the first National Skills Show, a UK version of the WorldSkills competition, will take place in Birmingham this November to showcase British talent.

Jaine Bolton, director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: “Encouraging more people to take up quality apprenticeships is absolutely vital in equipping young people with the skills they need for the future – and the skills Britain needs to grow.

“Quite simply, there has never been a better time to offer or take an apprenticeship and our campaign will help ensure this is known across the country.”

REC Recruitment, which gave Tolu Shobande – one of the stars of the campaign – an apprenticeship, said that they use apprentices to help promote talent in their organisation.

Dan Prince, managing director, explained: “We use apprenticeships to help us find and develop new consultants who’ll become the next generation of leaders. It is simple to set up an apprenticeship and the training is smooth and efficient.

“Our apprentices work hard, they help us raise the profile of the business and they make us more profitable.”

Find the latest news, features and guidance during National Apprenticeship week on our employer’s guide to apprenticeships.

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