Apprenticeship Week 2009

Apprenticeship Week, 23-27 February 2009, was an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the essential role that Apprenticeships are playing in today’s business world, ensuring that the workforce has the skills it needs in order to remain competitive, even in difficult economic circumstances.

Across the length and breadth of the country, across sectors and industries, employers and providers, Sector Skills Councils and Learning and Skills Council (LSC) regions, the diversity and strength of the Apprenticeships story was conveyed through print media, broadcast, networking events, seminars and advertisements, and much much more.

The lists of activities within this section will give you a flavour of what happended during Apprenticeship Week.

National LSC activities  »

Regional LSC activities  »

Sector activities  »

Partner activities  »

Other activities  »

Or read our snapshot of what happened during the Week:

Monday 23 February

Monday kick-started the week with the Government’s announcement to create around 21,000 public sector Apprenticeships in hospitals, schools, colleges and town halls across England in 2009-10.

In the East Midlands, Saira Khan, runner-up in the first series of BBC TV’s ‘The Apprentice’, took part in an Apprenticeship Experience with the East Midlands Ambulance Service whilst Chair of the Regional Council and leader Roger Begy went back to the floor at Rutland County Council by spending time on the customer service desk answering calls and dealing with queries.

Tim Campbell the first winner of ‘The Apprentice’, hosted an employers’ breakfast in the South East and visited local businesses to talk about the benefits of Apprenticeships. The Third Sector (not-for-profit organisations) held the first of five employer seminars in Slough promoting the benefits of taking on apprentices in the sector.

Yorkshire and Humber LSC launched the week at the Leeds Corn Exchange with a speed-dating themed event to bring together businesses, potential apprentices and key business organisations in the region, while more than 70 apprentices and performing arts students at Exeter College paraded through the city wearing Sir Alan Sugar masks.

Tuesday 24 February

On Tuesday, the LSC released research which revealed that 81 per cent of businesses that use Apprenticeships said that apprentices helped to generate higher overall productivity, and two-thirds believe their apprentices can help them to be more competitive.

Skills Minister Lord Young, the new Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) Simon Waugh, and BT’s Head of Apprenticeships, Dave Walsh, carried out a live webchat. Simon Waugh was interviewed on both BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Radio Two.

Gillian Merron MP for Lincoln, went ‘back to the floor’ in the East Midlands to experience life as a hairdressing apprentice, while the South West LSC held an employers’ business breakfast. Meanwhile, in the East of England, Luton Borough Council hosted an employers’ lunch showcasing the benefits of Apprenticeships, while City & Guilds and the London region held a joint conference for business leaders at Lords Cricket Ground.

Wednesday 25 February

Wednesday was ‘Make Things Happen Day’ offering apprentices the opportunity to shadow celebrities and business leaders for the day.

Following the public sector announcement, the West Midlands LSC held an event for over 100 public sector employers highlighting the benefits of hiring apprentices in the sector.

Sporting celebrity Sharron Davies and fitness apprentices from Biddock School in the North East delivered a training session for young people and adults, while the North West LSC hosted an Apprenticeship Summit targeting employers in the area.

Thursday 26 February

One of the highlights of the week was ‘Apprenticeship Excellence Day’ on Thursday, promoting the crucial role that apprentices make to all sectors of the economy. New face of Apprenticeships, Sir Alan Sugar took to the podium with the two Secretaries of State, John Denham and Ed Balls and spoke to over 500 employers about the business benefits of hiring apprentices.

In the afternoon The National Employer Service (NES) and SkillSmart Retail hosted a joint event for large retail employers where keynote speaker Theo Paphitis of Dragons’ Den spoke about how Apprenticeships are good for business. Also in London, young, upcoming athletes were given the chance to meet their sporting heroes in a day-long event organised by SkillsActive at the national tennis centre in Roehampton while horticulture apprentices in the North East worked alongside celebrity gardener Christine Walkden to clean-up a sensory garden.

Friday 27 February

On Friday, a number of English MPs went ‘Back to the Floor’ to visit businesses in their constituency and meet apprentices to experience the sort of roles that apprentices perform. MP Mark Todd worked alongside welding apprentices and Chair of the DIUS Select Committee Phil Willis went to a Peugeot dealership.

To round off the week, construction apprentices assisted with the repairs and painting and decoration of a community-based project in the North East. Michelin chef and former apprentice Michael Caines spoke to employers in the South West about how Apprenticeships have benefited his business before serving a dinner prepared by apprentices in his kitchens.

Throughout the week hundreds of employers, celebrities and members of the public wore ‘I Love Apprenticeships’ badges to proclaim their support for Apprenticeships. The response from the media has been fantastic with national coverage appearing in the FT, The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Express, The Star and The Guardian, websites and a variety of trade press. Media coverage so far this week has included Sky News, Setanta Sports, BBC Breakfast, BBC Newsround, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 2 to mention just a few!

Apprenticeship Week 2009 has been a fantastic success, engaging employers, partners, and media up and down the country helping to raise the profile of Apprenticeships.

Thanks to all who have made the week such a success and we look forward to planning 2010 to make it bigger and better!


Last Updated: 20/01/2010

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