Who is the nation’s top apprenticeship employer?

So many companies in the UK are hiring apprentices in 2015, but which firm provides the greatest service for young school leavers? Find out which business has been crowned 2015’s best apprenticeship employer, with all the votes coming from apprentices themselves.


Over 2,500 apprentices took part

RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk has released its annual table of the Top 60 Employers for apprenticeships and school leaver programmes.

This list has been compiled from the responses of over 2,500 reviews from school leavers who undertook apprenticeships, school leaver programmes, sponsored degree programmes, gap year programmes or work experience schemes.

All the apprentices who voted were asked to measure everything about their placement,  ranging from how valued they feel in the company to how much they earn, with RateMyApprenticeships.co.uk taking all that into account.

The research that was undertaken clearly demonstrates that the importance of apprenticeships and school leaver programmes is still high on the agenda, particularly over the past 12 months, with the Conservative Party recently committing itself to creating three million new apprenticeships by 2020.


And the winner is…

According to RateMyApprenticeships.co.uk, professional services giant EY is the UK’s number one apprenticeship employer, with over 100 young people serving on its training programmes at any one time.

Unilever enters the table for the first time at number two (with 141 programmes for young people) and number three is completed by investment company Fidelity Worldwide Investment, which has 200 people employed on its training schemes.

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Maggie Stilwell, managing partner for talent in the UK and Ireland at EY is delighted with her firm’s position on the list.

‘‘Our number one ranking is a great achievement and it demonstrates just how much our trainees and interns value their experience with us,’’ explained Stilwell.

‘‘We have invested heavily in our school-leaver programme since its launch three years ago, and a key part of that has been listening to and acting on feedback from our trainees, as well as involving them in shaping their own training and development.’’

‘‘This not only helps us to stay competitive, but also ensures our trainees are prepared for a successful career in business.’’

Ollie Sidwell, co-founder of RateMyApprenticeship.co.uk commented on the list, stating that the table is a great way to celebrate businesses that are doing greats things for apprentices.

‘‘In the last year EY has demonstrated their commitment to their school leaver programmes and the benefit it has, not only to the company, but to their industry as well. EY has become a great role model for companies looking to do the same,’’ said Sidwell.










 ‘Young people now have more opportunities than ever’

In association with research group 3gem, RateMyApprenticeships.co.uk also found that 50 per cent of parents and teachers agree that companies should be given compulsory targets for the number of under-25 apprentices they take on.

Although the government isn’t going that far, the Tories have implemented a new rule that takes into account apprenticeship schemes when awarding businesses with large government accounts (contracts worth over £10m). Employers’ bids will be reviewed in line with best practice for the number of apprentices that they expect to support.

The government seems to be sharing the same opinion as the public when it comes to apprenticeships.

When asked who has the most responsibility for recruiting young people on to the various work-based training schemes, 32 per cent of pupils, 50 per cent of parents, 44 per cent of teachers and 48 per cent of businesses said that this responsibility lies with employers.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) decision to give apprenticeships the same legal treatment as degrees has gone down well with the apprenticeship community; 59 per cent of the public agree with this change, stating that it will lead to a general rise in their success in attracting school leavers.

‘‘Targets could be a good way of ensuring that all school leavers have the opportunity to choose the path that’s right for them. Eventually this broadening of choice could mean that more women and those from ethnic minorities will end up in the boardrooms of the UK’s top companies and everyone can play a part in making this a viable option for young people,’’ continued Sidwell.

‘‘Young people now have more opportunities than ever to make an excellent start in the world of work and they can do so in the knowledge that non-academic routes are no longer seen as the poorer cousin of traditional degrees.’’