National Apprenticeship Week gathers pace

National Apprenticeship Week launched on Monday with Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP speaking to an audience of almost 100 apprentices and employers attending at Barclays at Canary Wharf.

There was also a BBC You’re Hired event at BBC Broadcasting House to talk about apprenticeships in the creative industries and what needs to be done to create more opportunities

Meanwhile Skills Minister Robert Halfon has been busy. Yesterday he spoke at Westminster Hall about the best ways of providing financial support for apprentices, wand warned that gender bias was getting in the way of girls pursuing careers in STEM subjects.

In his speech he said that schools “need to do a huge amount” to provide adequate careers advice to students in order to offset a “cultural problem” of stereotyping professions based on gender.

“We have 53 per cent female apprentices…53 per cent but very few doing Stem subjects,” he said. “So if I go to a college or place, go to a room, [and visit] healthcare [for example], it will all be females, [with] one or two men in there. Of course it’s fantastic that they’re doing it. [But] I go into a room of engineering or electrical it’s all men. That has got to change.”

Meanwhile, Royal Mail is supporting the week with a special postmark, which will be applied to millions of items of UK stamped mail nationwide. The postmark will appear on stamped mail between Monday 6 and Friday 10 March.


World record attempt

But perhaps the biggest event of the week saw more 10,000 young people taking part in a giant careers advice assembly in a bid to break a world record attempt.

Schools, young people, parents, and employers from across the country tuned in to the event, called ‘The Big Assembly’ from 8.45am to 9.15am this morning.

Schools, young people, parents, and employers from across the country tuned in to the event, called ‘The Big Assembly’ earlier today.

Helen Richardson, managing director of Work Pays and producer of the Big Assembly, said: “It was so impressive in terms of the number of schools, in particular, who took the time to rearrange their timetables so that their students could watch the Big Assembly.

“We didn’t quite manage to break the world record, because that relied on logins, and you could have hundreds of children watching one login.

“But we more than doubled our target for the number of young people who actually watched, which is great news with spreading the word about the huge benefits of apprenticeships and vocational training.”

“Everything that happened today was delivered by apprentices,” she continued. “From the filming of it, to Liam Jackson, a level three business admin apprentices who hosted the whole thing, so I would like to thank them all.

“We also gave out careers-experience related prizes to 11 schools involved – including a day as acting chief executive for Nottinghamshire City Council, and a day with Boots UK learning all about how products are developed and launched.”