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Orion laser facility

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It’s all go at AWE during National Apprenticeship Week

AWE apprentices are off to Parliament to showcase their talents, as part of a varied programme of events in support of the 10th National Apprenticeship Week (06-10 March).

Two AWE apprentices are joining the Rt. Hon. Robert Halfon, MP, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, at the House of Commons on Thursday (09 March). The pair will join a group of apprentices, drawn from communities all over England, to talk to the Minister about their experiences and future ambitions.Nine apprentices at AWE are taking part in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, a competition to find the nation’s best team of apprentices. Over the next four months, the team will tackle a series of exciting and interactive work-related challenges to develop new skills and promote the benefits of apprenticeships. The challenges will require team members to demonstrate their team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities.

Some ambitious apprentices are swapping their engineering benches for the boardroom, as they exchange roles with senior managers and directors for a day, while other apprentices are organizing the 2017 ‘Girls in Engineering’ event.

This annual one-day event is part of AWE’s commitment to inspire and encourage girls to consider a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) areas, before they select their GSCE options. Apprentices will also be attending careers fairs and holding business breakfasts, to raise awareness of the AWE apprenticeship scheme and its benefits for employers.

AWE is one of Berkshire’s biggest Berkshire employers, employing nearly 5000 people and its apprenticeship scheme is 65 years old (one of the oldest in the UK). Around 13% of current employees are former AWE apprentices, many of whom have progressed into senior leadership roles in the company. The scheme is expanding, rising from an annual intake of around 40 to in excess of 100 and increasing the range of skills on offer.      

Fusion, AWE’s integrated Early Careers programme, offers apprentices, graduates and post-graduates individual support, career development and ongoing training to help them get the most from their roles and to reach their full potential. For more information, go to www.awe.co.uk

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) facts and figures:

  • The Government wants to see three million high-quality apprenticeships in place by 2020 to boost the nation’s technical expertise and training standards. NAW is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to highlight the positive impact of apprenticeships on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
  • NAW 2017 will bring together employers and apprentices from across England to celebrate the success of apprenticeships over the last decade. Its theme is ‘Ladder of Opportunity’, focusing on progression routes, from traineeships through to higher and degree apprenticeships.

Key facts about apprenticeship benefits for employers*:

  • Employers say that qualified apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications
  • There were more than 250,000 employer workplaces with an apprentice in 2014/15
  • According to research published in June 2015, apprenticeships at Level 2 and Level 3 deliver £26 and £28 of economic benefits respectively for each pound of government investment
  • Apprenticeships boost productivity to businesses by on average £214 per week
  •  Apprenticeships enable businesses to grow their skills base resulting in increased profits, lower prices and better products
  • 87% of employers said they were satisfied with their apprenticeship programme;
  • 76% of employers say that productivity has improved
  • 75% of employers reported that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service

Benefits to the economy:

  • 2.4 million apprenticeships were started in England during the last Parliament
  • So far 624,000 apprenticeship starts have been reported since May 2015
  • The government invested £1,559,771 in apprenticeships during the 2014/15 academic year and are doubling the annual level of spending on apprenticeships between 2010-11 and 2019-20 in cash terms to £2.5bn
  • Apprenticeship participation increased to 899,400 in the 2015/16 academic year, up 3.2 per cent on 2014/15 and the highest number on record
  • Apprenticeships are available in 1,500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries
  • Up to 28,000 quality apprenticeship vacancies are available online at Find an Apprenticeship

Benefits for apprentices and trainees:

  • After finishing, the majority of apprentices (90%) stay in employment (including 2% self-employed), with seven in ten (71%) staying with the same employer
  • A quarter of former apprentices had been promoted (23%) within 12 months of finishing
  • 89% of apprentices are satisfied with their apprenticeship; 85% of apprentices said their ability to do the job had improved, and 83% of apprentices said their career prospects had improved
  • On average, individuals with an advanced apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more over their lifetime than similar individuals with Level 2 qualifications
  • Those completing a higher apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime
  • Nearly a fifth (19%) of advanced apprentices will go on to higher education
    *Data taken from the DfE Apprenticeship Core Brief/November 2016

Picture caption
Going for it – AWE apprentices plan their campaign for the Brathay Apprenticeship Challenge (front L-R - Ryan Niezgoda, Matt Grimston, Tom Grimston, Jack Bramp; back L-RDaniel Clancy, Dan Brown, Joe Smith).



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