EXCLUSIVE: Launching careers and diversifying our workforce

In an exclusive opinion piece for Recruiter, the Minister for Employment, Jo Churchill MP, highlights how apprenticeships are creating success stories across the country.

As we reach nearly 6 million new apprenticeship starts since 2010, I want to shine a light on the fantastic ways employers are supporting apprentices across the country to gain experience, develop skills and help businesses and the economy grow.

Employers are already creating a wide range of apprenticeships. Whether this is helping train the next Karen Millen or Jamie Oliver, we are propelling workers into some of the best opportunities on offer. So far this week [5-11 February] I’ve met nautical engineers, satellite builders and brewers.

As we invest record levels of funding in apprenticeships, reaching £2.7bn per year by 2024-25, we are giving employers and providers the financial backing to reap the rewards apprenticeships have to offer. 

Often people think apprenticeships are only for school leavers and young people, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. They are for everyone of any age.

Sarah and Heizal are prime examples of 50 plus workers who are thriving in their roles at B&Q. I had the pleasure of meeting them at the New Malden [South-East London] branch and learn about how B&Q is leading the way in embedding apprentices of all ages within their workforce. 

Age is no barrier to retraining, a message I know Recruiter readers will agree with.

So as you look to expand your workforces, the DWP is here to help. From sourcing ambitious apprentices who want to learn their craft – to finding your next dynamic full-time worker – the DWP has a pool of talent available.

DWP’s Jobcentres are hubs of opportunity and potential, providing unique pathways via a host of services to develop talent, grow workforces and get businesses growing. 

Our Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs) are a great way for employers to source untapped potential, upskilling people with the help of Jobcentre teams so they are ready to thrive in any industry from day one.

And we are determined to make it as easy as possible for employers to take on amazing apprentices. This is why we are encouraging flexible training models like flexi-job and accelerated apprenticeships, so levy-payers can make the most of their funds, while cutting a third of the steps needed for businesses to register and recruit an apprentice.

Through a dynamic partnership between recruiters and Jobcentres, we can nurture jobseekers with the knowledge, attributes and experience to thrive while growing our economy for a prosperous future.

Ambition is at the heart of apprenticeships, and I am determined to promote the benefits they have to offer for both employers and those looking for rewarding careers.

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Pic credit: Jo Churchill by UK Parliament is licensed under CC BY 3.0

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