UK business leaders 'at heart of apprenticeship push'

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Top business leaders are being drafted in to support government aims to create more apprenticeships

UK business leaders are being placed at the heart of the government's aim to deliver millions of new apprenticeship positions by the end of the decade.

A special reception was held this week (January 18th) in Downing Street for some of the nation's top business leaders, where prime minister David Cameron also announced the creation of a new Apprenticeship Delivery Board.

The initiative will bring together the heads of some of the nation's biggest businesses to help in encouraging more businesses to develop comprehensive apprenticeship programmes in the years ahead.

Members of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board will include (among others):

  • David Abraham, chief executive of Channel 4
  • Mike Thompson, head of apprenticeships at Barclays
  • Melanie Hayes, resourcing & development director at Compass Group
  • Simon Blagden, non-executive chairman at Fujitsu
  • James Wates, chairman at Wates Construction

It is to be chaired by apprenticeship advisor to the prime minister Nadhim Zahawi MP and will harness the experience and industry reputation of the nation's top business leaders to help companies of all sizes to identify both the risks and rewards of embracing a culture of increased apprenticeship investment.

Business secretary Sajid Javid said: "Three million more apprenticeships by 2020 means even more life changing opportunities for our young people. More than that, apprenticeships make sense for business. That's why some of the country's top business leaders are coming together to bang the drum for apprenticeships.

"We are putting employers at the heart of quality apprenticeships so that young people get the skills they need to succeed."

He added that the government continues to celebrate the symbiotic benefits of enhanced apprenticeship programmes for both the nation's businesses and young people alike.

Indeed, the creation of new apprenticeship schemes can have far-reaching benefits for many firms, as well as for the next generation of skilled workers.

Companies can gain the advantage of staff that are specifically trained to meet their needs, moulding their applicants into the skilled tradespeople and staff of tomorrow that will help to support the nation's economic prosperity.

At the same time, apprenticeship schemes help to engender a sense of loyalty and appreciation among staff that may be lacking among workers that have come into a business later in their career.

Moreover, apprentices themselves are given the chance to excel and expand their learning under expert guidance, helping them to attain much sought after skills and experience that will stand them in excellent stead for the future.