A select group of apprentices from across Cambridgeshire gathered in Alconbury Weald yesterday to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2019 and the positive impact apprenticeships have on local businesses.

The event, sponsored by Urban&Civic Plc and delivered by Cambridgeshire County Council, with the help of LGSS Learning and Development, was organised to recognise and celebrate apprentices in this county.

Apprentices, and their employers, who live and work in Cambridgeshire were invited to come and share their experiences. They also had the opportunity to participate in two free workshops focusing on the key skills needed to support their End Point Assessments, including tips on compiling a portfolio and how to prepare for a professional discussion.

“Blaze a Trail” has been the theme for the 12th National Apprenticeship Week, and this annual celebration helps to highlight the fantastic opportunities that apprenticeships bring not just to individuals but to businesses and the wider economy.

Along with employers in the region, a selection of students from local schools were invited to attend the event, to learn about the career opportunities an apprenticeship can offer and support blazing a trail for future generations.

Hosted by Cllr Ian Bates with an opening address by Gillian Beasley, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, the Apprenticeship Celebration showcased the breadth of different apprenticeship opportunities available in Cambridgeshire.

Apprentices from Marshall AeroAcademy spoke about their experiences as did a selection of representatives from RG Carter Construction plus speakers from the Education and Training Foundation, Form the Future, and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Gillian Beasley, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said:

“Apprenticeships are a very important subject for me, as they offer a ladder of opportunity and career progression, which helps to develop a motivated and highly qualified workforce, as well as a way of attracting new staff. Our challenge is to get the message out about what an apprentice can do for an organisation. We want to change the perceptions people have on what an apprenticeship is, and who takes them up, to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to take up an apprenticeship and get on the path to a great career.”

“This event has showcased the number of high quality of apprenticeship opportunities available, not just at the County Council but at all levels around the county in a huge variety of sectors such as aviation engineering, construction and management.”

Cllr Ian Bates, Cambridgeshire County Council’s newly appointed Member Champion for Apprenticeships, said:

“National Apprenticeship Week is a chance to shout about all that is great about apprentices, their trainers and managers, on a national stage. Our event was organised to challenge attitudes towards apprenticeships. We want to increase awareness and take-up of Apprenticeships and Traineeships, and with students here from St Bede's School and Hinchingbrooke School, I hope we have encouraged them to research the wealth of opportunities facing young people leaving school, as there has never been a better time to get involved in apprenticeships."

Tim Leathes, Development Director for Urban&Civic said:

“Learning and skills are at the heart of Alconbury Weald and apprenticeships play a huge role in that: not just offering pathways into careers but also to upskill and retrain existing employees. For companies coming to the Enterprise Campus focused on advanced engineering, manufacturing and digital technologies, and for those working with us to build homes and infrastructure for the future, the fast changing technology and genuine skills challenges, mean apprenticeships have to be a key part of future planning.

"Events like today’s, as part of this important week, are part of our continued work with partners at the iMET Centre, our EDGE jobs and skills brokerage, and the new CITB construction training hub to make that a reality.”

To find out more about apprenticeships visit: https://www.gov.uk/topic/further-education-skills/apprenticeships.