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Gordon Birtwistle MP Government Apprenticeship Ambassador

The Apprentice Journey Gordon Birtwistle MP was appointed as the Government Apprenticeship Ambassador to business earlier this spring (2013). In his work he has come across some incredible apprentice stories...

Meet the Real Apprentices who are securing Britain’s future

FOREWORD BY GORDON BIRTWISTLE MP Gordon Birtwistle MP is the Government Apprenticeship Ambassador, Chair of Lib Dem Parliamentary Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills, and Chair of the APPG on Apprenticeships. On his journey as Apprenticeship Ambassador, Gordon has met hundreds of fabulous young people working hard and proving themselves as valuable assets to their companies. It was through meeting them that he came up with the idea for a television documentary/programme about ‘real apprentices’ in ‘real careers’. Gordon’s experiences have led him to the conclusion that apprenticeships are not given the full credit due to them. Having met so many young people who are doing great things in various industries and companies he feels they are simply not given the credit they deserve.

“Apprenticeships are the way forward. They provide on-the-job training and offer a wage with a career at the end of it. There are a lot of young people under pressure to go to university and study subjects for which there is a shortage of jobs. I hope you enjoy reading some of the wonderful stories I have heard so far.” – Gordon Birtwistle MP

MEET SOME OF THE APPRENTICES... Sam Allen – British Airways Apprentice “I was once told that experience counts for as much as knowledge and so I took this to heart when looking for a career. Being an apprentice at BA allows me to gain the necessary skills to build a successful career here without having to pay an extraordinary amount in university fees. We are given a rotation plan that specifies where we will be placed throughout the apprenticeship with the aim of giving us a broader knowledge of British Airways as well as gaining priceless experience.” Jenny Westworth – BAE Systems NAS National Apprentice Champion of the Year 2012 “I chose to take up the BAE Systems apprenticeship scheme in Aeronautical Engineering simply because it sounded like the most exciting - it certainly didn’t let me down. Taking up an apprenticeship scheme was by far the best career choice I could have made. I love the variety of my job I do day to day. My apprenticeship taught me that engineering is a world of its own; there are so many aspects to it and you can never learn it all. But my apprenticeship definitely gave me a decent chance too. I have worked all over the business, on numerous projects and in different business units. It gave me the chance to work out what I actually wanted to do, gain hands on experience and qualifications, as well as work out what my strengths and weaknesses were before making a decision on a job role.” Stuart Rigg – Mechanical Design Apprentice Sellafield “I chose an apprenticeship because I believed it to offer a larger variety of options and opportunities, where as if I had stayed in education I would have been limited. An apprenticeship offered both work experience and further education and a better chance of a job placement upon completion of it. I am on track to become a fully qualified design engineer and eager to progress up the engineer ranks, as well as carrying on with further education.”

THE FACTS... FACT: The average person completing an Apprenticeship increases business productivity by £214 per week, with these gains translating to increased profits, lower prices, better products and higher wages.

FACT: There are 250 different Apprenticeship frameworks available. Currently, Apprenticeships relate to over 1,400 specific job-roles in sectors as diverse as engineering, retail and business administration. FACT: Earn a salary – An average apprentices’ wage is £170 per week.* FACT: Eight out of ten apprentices believe that their Apprenticeship has improved their ability to do their job, provided them with sectorrelevant skills and knowledge. FACT: Hiring apprentices helps businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and productive workforce. FACT: 520,600 people started an Apprenticeship in 2011/2012, an increase of 13.9% compared. * Apprenticeship Pay Survey 2007

Star Apprentice, Constance’s Story... In 2010 I left Uganda for the UK. Unfortunately my visa ran out and I was detained and eventually released with leave to remain in the UK. When I left the detention centre I desperately tried to find work. I saw that a restaurant was advertising for a waitress. I arrived there early in the morning for my trial; the manager told me I wasn’t going to be paid but I didn’t mind as I wanted to prove myself. I cleaned everything – the utensils, the tables, even the toilets. At the end of the day they told me that they would call me and tell me if I had secured the job so I left. I found out they didn’t give me the job because I didn’t have enough experience. I wondered what level of experience one needed to wash plates and clean the toilets and tables. At this point I was running out of money so I was forced to go to the job centre to apply for a crisis loan. It was here I found out about the apprenticeship opportunities at Barclays. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found out I had got the job. Having not received a good education whilst growing up, I didn’t believe I would ever work in a bank. After I started working I received my first pay check, so in full Barclays uniform I made my way back to the restaurant which rejected me. When I went to the manager, she didn’t remember me so I told her who I was and that I had come to thank her as if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be working with Barclays. Since working with Barclays I have learned how to be adaptable and be more confident. I now have my own flat and recently graduated at the House of Commons. I also won the National Apprentice Award, highly recommended in the London Region at the London City Hall. I am now starting my new role as Local Business Manager Northwest London. My situation has taught me that the sky is the limit and thanks to Barclays I believe in myself a lot more.

MESSAGE FROM THE EMPLOYER... Fujitsu “Apprentices have come to be highly valued within Fujitsu. We have found the individuals extremely eager, quick to learn and often take on more complex work much more quickly than we would have expected, whilst their fresh perspective makes them challenge conventional ways of thinking. It is clear that employing apprentices provides benefits for business, individuals and wider society thus contributing to continual skills training and a reduction of youth unemployment in the UK.” Duncan Tait, CEO Fujitsu UK & Ireland.

Rolls Royce “Our annual UK apprentice intake is around 250 covering a number of disciplines, including increasing numbers of Higher Apprenticeship opportunities. We invest a significant amount in ensuring these people are trained to the highest possible standards within a very strong development culture that enables them to achieve their potential very quickly. “Many of our apprentices progress to management and specialist roles within a short space of time, following completion of their apprenticeship. Approximately 20% of our UK senior managers began their career as an apprentice. are extremely proud of our apprenticeship programmes and of those we select to complete them.” Neil Fowkes, Learning and Delivery Manager, Rolls-Royce plc.

Calico “Calico is extremely committed in ensuring it maximizes all of its investment and procurement activity. In 2010, the company developed a unique ‘shared apprenticeship’ scheme which provides a model to create full-time apprenticeships from short-term development activities. The success of the shared apprenticeship model, which has now created over 85 apprentices, is down to the fantastic support of contractors, local authorities and housing associations who now use the shared apprenticeship model for all the procurement across the North West. The experience for the apprentice is also greatly enhanced as they work with a variety of different contractors on a range of contracts, thus making them much more skilled and employable.” Stuart Graham, Head of Skills and Enterprise, Calico.



Vince Cable – Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills “Since 2010, a million new jobs have been created in British businesses but we need many more given the level of youth unemployment in the UK. Apprenticeships are, in my view, the solution to this as we need to equip the younger generation with the skills they need to gain employment and progress into careers. “If you run a business, apprenticeships mean you have properly qualified staff, trained with the skills you need to help the company grow. As for the young person, apprenticeships allow you to learn new skills in a paid job helping you to get on in life. “I believe apprenticeships are the future and are vital to the economic recovery. The more companies we get on board and young people into apprenticeships, the lower youth unemployment will be. Our ambition is that by 2015 apprenticeships will be seen as equal in value to a degree in terms of earning potential, employability and value form the employer.”

Matthew Hancock – Minister for Skills & Enterprise “I want it to be the new norm for young people to choose to either go to university or undertake apprenticeships when they leave school or college. Manufacturing is booming and we need more engineering apprentices with technical skills to fix our skills shortage. We also want to go further in offering apprenticeships as a route into professions such as insurance, accounting and law amongst many other sectors. We have seen some fantastic success stories and I would encourage anyone to consider an apprenticeship”.

Karen Woodward – Interim National Director for Apprenticeships, NAS “Apprenticeships provide the opportunity for apprentices to earn as they learn, which provides a career pathway that can take them right up to degree level in a wide variety of skills and disciplines. Increasingly it should become the norm for young people to go in to an Apprenticeship or to university or – in the case of some Higher Apprenticeships – do both. “Employers are increasingly recognising the benefits that Apprenticeships bring to the business environment such as high quality work-based training relevant to the needs of rapidly changing workplaces. This ensures that Apprenticeships remain at the heart of today’s economy, whilst adapting to the ever changing needs of business and industry.”

Lizzie Moffatt – Business and Administration Apprentice, Vauxhall “Throughout my time in education, apprenticeships were perceived to be for people who were not academic or motivated enough to go to university; they were and still are perceived to be second rate. I have been with Vauxhall for a year and a half now and, in that time, the company has both fully supported me and funded my successful participation in a Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration and a Level 3 NVQ. As a result of the company’s continuing funding and support, I am now undertaking a degree in Business Management.” Laura Moloku – Housing Options Apprentice, Family Mosaic “Before Family Mosaic I was studying for my A-levels looking into going to University. However, I felt that I worked better in a more practical environment. This Apprenticeship has given me a great stepping stone and has taught me more about life than any University could.”

Jordon Phillips – Mechanical and Electrical Engineer Apprentice, Nestlé Jordon is doing four year engineering apprenticeship at Nestle. He started after leaving school at the age of 16. “It has proven to be the best decision I could have made. The structure of an apprenticeship gives you on– the-job learning and experience, as well as the relevant qualifications through a college or university. Earning while learning is a huge incentive for anyone that can’t afford to go to University or doesn’t want to pay tuition fees.”


Problems and Challenges we face: Career Advice The positive message about apprenticeships is not getting across to young people in schools. Schools are keen to promote the university route in order to compete in the league tables. Pupils receive careers advice from teachers who have only ever been in the education system and are not raising awareness of available professions in various industries. We are working with companies to encourage them to go into schools and tell young people about careers available. We are also trying to establish young ambassadorial networks so that apprentices can go into schools and tell pupils about their experiences. Still, we need to do more: more ambassadors, more positive speakers and to get the support of the press. This is why the BBC should produce a TV show called the real apprentice in order for the nation to see directly what careers are available to young people and what is involved in becoming an apprentice.

“It is vital that we continue to encourage apprenticeships in terms of both quality and quantity. If every business hired one apprentice, or took on one extra apprentice, we’d reduce youth employment significantly. I am hoping to achieve this in my role as Government Apprenticeship Ambassador and hope that you will join me in advocating apprenticeships.” Gordon Birtwistle MP for Burnley and Padiham Government Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business House of Commons London SW1A 0AA 0207 219 4625 sponsored by...


The Apprentice Journey  

Gordon Birtwistle MP was appointed as the Government Apprenticeship Ambassador to business earlier this spring (2013). In his work he has co...

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