During this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, Robert Halfon MP held an event at the House of Commons to celebrate the success of apprenticeships, the “Apprentices take over the House of Commons event”. I was one of the 160 apprentices who had the pleasure of attending this event, after receiving an invitation through the Skills Funding Agency.
This year’s National Apprenticeship Week was particularly special as it marked the 10th anniversary of this awareness week. This, paired with the new legislation that the Government are launching for apprenticeships from April, in the form of the Apprenticeship Levy, caused reason for advocates of apprenticeships to celebrate – one of these advocates being Robert Halfon, the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills.
Robert Halfon MP discussed the success of apprenticeships over the past decade, along with the reasons why he feels it is so important that apprenticeships are promoted, as they are “the ladder of opportunity”.
We then heard from other key speakers including Nus Ghani and Joe Billington. Nus Ghani, the chair of the newly-established Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network (ADCN) discussed her role and shared her passion for “ensuring that everyone, no matter their background or age, can use apprenticeships to get on the ladder of opportunity to a successful career”. Joe Billington, Director of the National Careers Service, discussed the skills shortage within the UK and how apprenticeships help to fill these gaps.
Adam Sharpe, from Sellafield Ltd., shared his apprenticeship journey and spoke about the difficulties he experienced during his apprenticeship. He was delighted to have battled through them which led to him being awarded the winner of the National Apprenticeship Services Advanced Apprentice award.
To celebrate the 10th National Apprenticeship Week, we then heard from 10 apprentices in 10 minutes. The apprentices came from a wide range of businesses from across the UK and it was excellent to see how an apprenticeship had changed the lives of everyone who spoke.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Robert Halfon MP, sharing my experience as an apprentice as well as my aspirations for the future (and I had to get the obligatory selfie with him of course!) and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to ‘take over the House of Commons’ with so many successful and inspirational apprentices from across the UK.