National Apprenticeship Week 2016 rises to the top with over 30,000 pledges

Even more young people will be able to ‘rise to the top’ with an apprenticeship, as 30,084 new apprenticeships have been pledged by employers as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2016 (14 – 18 March).

From Greene King committing to hiring 10,000 apprentices (up from 2,000 in 2015), Microsoft and partners announcing plans to recruit 4,500, BT pledging 1,000, Deloitte 200 and Kwik Fit 150, pledges have been made by hundreds of businesses around the country. Other companies that have pledged new apprenticeships include BMW, Addleshaw Goddard LLP, Fortnum & Mason, Virgin Media, British Airways, Prezzo, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The UK construction sector responded with pledges this year from a wide range of businesses in the sector including big names such as Balfour Beaty, Derry Building Services and Higgins Construction PLC, with Balfour Beaty alone pledging nearly 100 apprenticeships.

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 with employers large and small, including Halfords Ltd and Chelmsford JCP pledging 1,770 traineeship positions.

During National Apprenticeship Week 2015, employers pledged to recruit 23,000 apprentices.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

“This week I’ve travelled the country meeting apprentices doing the most incredible jobs, from cooking mussels at Rick Stein’s restaurant to fixing helicopters for the Royal Navy.

“Apprenticeships offer working people the jobs and training they need to build a great career. An apprenticeship really can take you anywhere.

“Employers have pledged more than 30,000 new apprenticeships this week. That means over 30,000 more life changing opportunities for working people.”

National Apprenticeship Week, which is led and co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, saw hundreds of events and activities take place across England. A huge range of organisations and individuals, including employers, apprentices, business support and sector organisations, learning providers, colleges and schools, supported the Week by hosting activities.

Key events during the week included a launch event at the Shard in London where businesses in attendance pledged to recruit over 19,000 apprentices. The Business Secretary, Sajid Javid met employers and apprentices and spoke about the future of apprenticeships. The Licence to Skill event at the London Film Museum, attended by the influential figures from the world of technology, digital and the creative industries, focused on the benefits that apprentices can bring to these sectors.

Now in its ninth 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 2016 was to show how individuals and businesses can achieve their ambitions of ‘rising to the top’ through apprenticeships.

Jade Aspinall, Higher Apprentice of the Year, MBDA, said:

“As an apprentice I am able to earn whilst I learn, gaining degree level qualifications whilst acquiring practical experience at the same time. I believe in learning through experience and my apprenticeship allowed me to do that.

“I’m very ambitious about my future. I started university in September, studying a B.Eng in Computer Aided Engineering. I cannot have enough passion and enthusiasm for apprenticeships. Without mine, I wouldn’t be the confident, mature, challenge-driven individual I am today: greatest decision of my life. Since starting my apprenticeship my confidence has increased significantly.”

The National Apprenticeship Awards 2016 application site was also opened during the week, and the search is now on to find the country’s next cohort of top apprentices and apprenticeship employers. The awards, run by the National Apprenticeship Service, celebrate exceptional employers and apprentices who have apprenticeships at the heart of their business or have used an apprenticeship to develop their career.

Individuals and businesses who apply to the awards compete to be named ‘the best of the best’ on a regional and national level. For the sixth year running the very best employer category entries will also have the additional bonus of featuring in the annual Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list.

There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice, or start an apprenticeship.  Hiring apprentices helps businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

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To find out more about National Apprenticeship Week 2016, go to