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Government puts top businesses at the heart of apprenticeship drive

Prime Minister and Business Secretary host reception with some of the UK’s top businesses to celebrate employing thousands of apprentices.

Some of the UK’s top businesses will celebrate employing thousands of apprentices and pledge to take on more at a special reception in Downing Street today (18 January 2016) hosted by the Prime Minister and Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

Businesses and public sector organisations including Greene King and the Army will celebrate employing record numbers of apprentices, while firms including Deloitte and the Adecco Group will pledge to boost their numbers of apprentices. Top employers recognise the benefits apprenticeships bring to growing their businesses and providing opportunities for young people who want to work hard and get on.

The Prime Minister will also announce that a new Apprenticeship Delivery Board will be established, bringing together some of the country’s leading business. With members from top employers including Channel 4, Barclays and Wates Construction, the board will encourage more businesses to develop quality apprenticeships. Members will act as apprenticeship champions within their sector, working with employers of all sizes to increase both the number of apprenticeship places on offer and the supply of talented candidates.

The Board will harness their experience and industry reputation to encourage others to follow their lead while also working to identify challenges that may be stopping employers getting involved with apprenticeships.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Three million more apprenticeships by 2020 means even more life changing opportunities for our young people. More than that, apprenticeships make sense for business. That’s why some of the country’s top business leaders are coming together to bang the drum for apprenticeships.

We are putting employers at the heart of quality apprenticeships so that young people get the skills they need to succeed. Today we are celebrating everything that apprenticeships have to offer businesses and young people.

Chaired by the Prime Minister’s apprenticeship advisor Nadhim Zahawi MP and businessman and apprenticeship champion David Meller, the Apprenticeship Delivery Board will include:

  • David Abraham, Chief Executive of Channel 4
  • Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays
  • Alderman Andrew Parmley, City of London
  • Rami Ranger CBE, Chairman of Sun Mark Ltd
  • Melanie Hayes, Resourcing & Development Director at Compass Group
  • Simon Blagden MBE, Non-Executive Chairman at Fujitsu
  • James Wates CBE, Chairman, Wates Construction

Chair of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board, Nadhim Zahawi said:

I’m proud that we’ve been able to put together such an exciting line up of top business leaders for the Apprenticeship Delivery Board. I look forward to working closely with them all, raising further awareness of the business benefits of apprenticeships and providing feedback on how to continually improve quality, as well as quantity.

As ever more great British businesses get involved, and with the inclusion of higher and degree level apprenticeships, we can raise the status of apprenticeships while delivering 3 million starts by 2020; a target which provides us with an unmissable opportunity to change lives, boost skills and increase productivity in the UK economy.

Latest figures show that more people than ever before are participating in apprenticeships, with further employer commitments set to follow as the government continues to deliver its promise of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020.

Top employers celebrated record apprenticeship achievements and pledged to take on more recruits in 2016:

  • Ministry of Defence: Announced that the Army has recruited its 80,000th apprentice, Katy Houston, now a Lance Corporal, on an apprenticeship in Engineering Maintenance. More than 98% of new soldiers are enrolled on a trade-related apprenticeship during their training and the Army programme is the largest employer programme in the country. The Army includes apprenticeship opportunities such as engineering, healthcare and animal care.

  • Deloitte: Have committed to doubling the number of positions available through their BrightStart Business Higher Apprenticeship Scheme. The scheme will provide 200 high quality apprenticeships to school and college leavers giving them the opportunity to study technical qualifications while working.

  • Greene King: Have delivered on their pledge to create 2,000 more apprenticeships, taking the total number of people earning and learning with an apprenticeship at the firm to 3,300. Greene King is now working to increase the number of qualifications available to their 42,000 employees.

  • Adecco Group: The recruitment agency launched their first apprenticeship scheme in the summer of 2015. As a result of the success of the scheme they hope to create 50 new apprenticeships in 2016 and are committed to making apprenticeships an integral part of their recruitment strategy.

  • Sellafield Ltd: Sellafield Ltd will be welcoming a further 165 apprentices this year - taking the total number of young people in training with Sellafield Ltd to a landmark 550 apprentices.

  • Prezzo: The restaurant chain is offering apprenticeships to level 4 and is committed to ensuring that the programme is helping to develop senior managers of the future. Prezzo are currently supporting almost 400 employees through apprenticeships across levels 2 to 4.

  • Barclays: Barclays launched the ‘Bolder Apprenticeships’ in 2015, the first UK employer to open their apprenticeship programme to adults over the age of 24 years. Barclays has ongoing support apprenticeships and has committed to recruiting a further 500 apprentices in 2016.

  • International Financial Data Services: The firm celebrated their 500th apprentice joining the firm since they launched their apprenticeship scheme in 2013.

Notes to editors

  1. For more information or employer and apprentices quotes please contact

  2. For more information on the Apprenticeship Delivery Board please contact

  3. The National Apprenticeship Awards will be taking place in central London on 26 January 2016.

  4. Skills and Further Education is a devolved matter, meaning reforms of apprenticeships apply to England only.

  5. The government published English apprenticeships: our 2020 vision at Apprenticeships (in England): vision for 2020

  6. Alongside apprenticeships young people can gain the skills they need to kick-start their future careers through Traineeship or Work Experience opportunities.

  7. National Apprenticeship Week 2016 takes place from 14 to 18 March 2016, it is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.


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