The 5% Club and The Association of Apprentices are pleased to announce a new “Partnership for support to Apprentices” which will see them working more closely and collaborating more to maximise their combined effect in encouraging employer pursuance of “earn and learn” schemes, with a focus on apprenticeships and the through-life support provided to apprentices.
With almost one million apprentices of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, and the persistent preference and bias towards the University pathway, this new partnership will look to redress the balance, encourage positive employer action for an increased level of accessible and inclusive apprenticeships, and encourage employers and apprentices to extend this supportive approach across every apprenticeship.
At a time when there is an unprecedented demand for skills across the country and throughout all sectors of the economy, the partners are keen that those on apprenticeships are supported and encouraged to achieve their full potential and associated career success, and that employers understand the benefits of apprenticeships – which include employee retention and closing the critical skills gaps – and take positive action to support apprenticeships and their apprentices.
The partners are suited for this collaboration, with The Association of Apprentices (AoA) already growing rapidly and providing support to apprentices, training providers and employers alike. Apprentices are supported directly through membership of the Apprentice Community (through “AoA Connect”), advice and guidance on their learning (via “AoA Learn”) and through networking events, across the UK. Training Providers and employers are encouraged to raise awareness of the Association, given the assistance provided and support given that can improve the apprenticeship offer. In parallel, The 5% Club strives to inspire positive employer action for increased and accessible “earn & learn” schemes. Moving forward, the partners intend to produce shared thought leadership articles and expert opinion, Employer Insight and Learning Events, and an expansion and closer linkage of their employer schemes – Corporate Membership of the AoA and The 5% Club Employer Audit (Gold, Silver and Bronze membership).
Emily Austin, CEO of The Association of Apprentices said, ‘We know that peer support and connections are vital for a great apprenticeship experience and in retaining apprentices, but not every employer can offer this type of support, especially smaller organisations. We want every apprentice in the UK to have the opportunity to join us, and our partnership with the 5% Club with its impressive member network and track record of creating workplace learning opportunities, will not only help in raising awareness of what apprentice support is available, but will actively tackle some of the challenges apprentices are facing in completing their programmes today’
Mark Cameron OBE, CEO of The 5% Club said, “This new partnership builds on The 5% Club’s purpose and provides a fantastic way to extend our reach and to deepen support to employers, training providers and their apprentices. We have been inspired by the rapid growth and expansion of the Association, and applaud the support and guidance they are providing, and the way in which Apprentices – through the Apprentice Council – shape the nature of this support. In these challenging times, we will combine our efforts to understand and then remove the challenges faced by apprentices and their employers, inspiring positive action from all parties.”
He adds, “The 5% Club is well placed to support his partnership, with our growing membership now numbering over 700 Employers, representing 1.6m workers and more than 93,000 staff members on earn & learn schemes, 70,000 of which are apprentices of all ages. We have a record of inspiring our members to create opportunities using workplace learning which can only be strengthened by this exciting new partnership.”