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Wiltshire Apprenticeships Campaign launched

Wiltshire Apprenticeship Campaign launch
Apprentice Megan Mounty talks about her experiences of the apprenticeship programme at the event

This campaign is not just focused on increasing numbers, but about delivering real value to those considering an apprenticeship, or a business potentially taking one on

Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council

A new campaign has been launched by Wiltshire Council to boost awareness of the important role of apprenticeships both in the business community and with potential apprentices.

The Wiltshire Apprenticeships Campaign was launched at a reception at County Hall yesterday evening (22 September 2015).

The campaign seeks to grow the numbers of apprenticeships available in the county, urging more businesses to sign up to a scheme, and with a particular focus on encouraging learners to develop through the apprenticeships programme, up to higher and degree apprenticeships.

Working in partnership with apprenticeship providers across the county, the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Training Provider Network, the National Apprenticeship Service, and a number of employer apprenticeship ambassadors, the campaign will culminate with a graduation ceremony for the county's higher and advanced apprentices at Salisbury Cathedral in October 2016. A raft of media opportunities, business events and school engagements will be designed to push forward the county's aspirations around growing apprenticeships.

On average there are around 5,000 apprenticeship starts each year in Wiltshire. The Government's aspiration is for three million starts nationally. Keeping up with national aspirations will mean that by 2019/20 Wiltshire will need to increase starts to 6,750.

Last year, just 40 individuals achieved a higher apprenticeship in the county, while 40 per cent of all apprenticeship starts are at Level 3.  

Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "This campaign is not just focused on increasing numbers, but about delivering real value to those considering an apprenticeship, or a business potentially taking one on. We would like to particularly encourage progression within the apprenticeship family starting out with traineeships, leading all the way up through to higher apprenticeships, providing degree equivalency.  

"Higher apprenticeships are relatively new, but they offer a clear opportunity for the learners to progress."

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said: "Apprenticeships have a key role to play in upskilling the nation. They provide young people with the opportunity to reach their potential, giving them what it takes to achieve a successful career. Hiring apprentices helps businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. The continued growth of degree and higher apprenticeships is widening access to the professions and providing the higher level technical skills employers need to improve productivity, as well as giving young people an equally valid career route as going to university. 

"The government's commitment is for three million new apprenticeships over the next five years and campaigns such as this are crucial in helping us on the road to achieve that. They help us spread the word about the many benefits apprenticeships bring for employers, individuals and the wider economy.

"I would encourage any employer considering taking on an apprentice to come on board, as the benefits are great: improved skills levels, service, morale and productivity, to name but a few. The National Apprenticeship Service is here to support employers of all shapes and sizes, helping them through the process of taking on an apprentice." 

Barry Dennington, chair of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "We welcome this campaign to raise the profile of apprenticeships. At the SWLEP we recognise that apprenticeships will be an increasingly important element in the skills development of the workforce over the coming years as we strive to increasingly make the Swindon and Wiltshire area a hotbed of technical expertise." 

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