New network promotes Apprenticeships to employers
A new employer-led network to champion and promote Apprenticeships to employers was launched recently by Ruth Kelly MP, former Secretary of State for Education.
Chaired by Sir Roy Gardner, chief executive of Centrica Plc, the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network was created to promote Apprenticeships to business, aiming to increase take-up, particularly in sectors of poor penetration.
The network will also advise and help employers with the aim of improving Apprenticeship outcomes and provide feedback to Government and others on issues that affect the quality and effectiveness of Apprenticeships.
Network Ambassadors include Clare Chapman, group personnel director at Tesco plc; Roger Robinson, executive director for construction services at Carillion plc; Martin Temple, director general at EEF; Ian Ferguson CBE of Data Connection Ltd; Mike Turner CBE of BAE Systems; and Michael Stephenson MBE of Helena Biosciences.
The network also includes representatives of Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) including Rod Kenyon OBE, director of British Gas Engineering Academy representing Energy & Utility Skills; Simon Bartley, chairman of SummitSkills; Cedric Hollinsworth, managing director of Midland Quarry Products representing Proskills UK; and Tony Hall, chief executive of the Royal Opera House representing Creative & Cultural Skills.
Launching the Network, Rt Hon Ruth Kelly said: "As a key part of our Skills Strategy to close skills gaps the Government has re-vitalised Apprenticeships.
"The status of Apprenticeships is rising fast as more employers recognise their value and more young people successfully complete work based courses and progress into good careers.
"The Ambassador network will help ensure we build on the progress we have made. We have reached our target of 28% of young people starting apprenticeships each year. But there is more to be done.
"Under our Further Education reforms Sector Skills Councils are leading the design of apprenticeships to make sure they meet the needs of employers both large and small. We will now build on this in sectors with fewer apprenticeships."
Sir Roy Gardner agreed: "The clear message is that Apprenticeships do work but employers must be committed and work together with providers of training to make them more effective.
"I'm encouraged to note that completion rates are rising, however, I believe that we can do better and that will be one of the network's priorities.
"We are keen to work with SSCs as they will play a key role in helping us to promote the business benefits of Apprenticeships to employers."
Sector Skills Development Agency chief executive, Mark Fisher attended the launch event. He said, "The Skills for Business network plays a critical role in ensuring the voice of employers is heard in the apprenticeships process. We're delighted to support the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network and its on-going commitment to making apprenticeships real-life success stories."
For more information about the Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network visit the Employers for Apprentices' website
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