Worcestershire LEP Chair, Mark Stansfeld: 11 March 2016

First published in the Worcester News on 11 March 2016

Next week, 14-18 March 2016, is National Apprenticeship Week, and I would encourage all businesses to get behind the campaign and showcase what your company and Worcestershire has to offer.

The themes this year, ‘Made by Apprentices’ and how apprentices ‘Rise to the Top’, provides an ideal opportunity for you to celebrate the contribution that apprentices make to your business as well as showcase your products and services.

Employers can get involved, alongside your apprentices, through social media in Tweets, for example, a photograph of yourself with your apprentice and a product or service that the apprentice has made or delivered. Add the hashtag #MadeByApprentices or #NAW2016 to join the national conversation and #WorcsApprentice to show support for apprenticeships locally.

Worcestershire has over 10,000 people participating in an apprenticeship programme and excellence is recognised in our annual Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards. I would also encourage you to enter your apprentices into the WorldSkills UK Skills Competition 2016 which is across a wide range of industries. Registration is open until 7 April 2016 at www.findafuture.org.uk and the finals take place at The Skills Show during November at the NEC in Birmingham.

I have seen first-hand the positive contribution that apprentices make and National Apprenticeship week is an ideal opportunity to consider how apprenticeships could help with your future workforce requirements. Whilst it is rewarding to help shape the skills of the next generation, it also makes absolute business sense as apprentices add so much to the workplace and companies recruit talent with lower recruitment costs.

A wealth of information and support is available and I would encourage businesses to visit www.worcsapprenticeships.org.uk where you will also find details of events taking place this week, links to entering the WorldSkills UK Skills Competition and the option to pledge your support in increasing the excellent opportunities available locally and I would urge you to get involved.