The 5% Club celebrates excellence awarding Bronze, Silver and Gold Membership



Today, The 5% Club has announced the award of Bronze, Silver and Gold Membership to the seventy-three trail-blazing Members who participated in the first year of its new Employer Recognition Scheme, The Employer Audit. Of those who participated, fifty-eight met the Gold Standard which recognises those who have exceeded their aspiration to have 5% of their workforce in “earn and learn” schemes – Apprenticeships, Graduate Schemes, and eligible Sponsored Students.

The scheme was launched in late March of this year and opened for entries at the end of June. This novel scheme which covers the totality of workplace learning offerings has four main pillars: 



  • The Award;
  • Bespoke Research (delivered in partnership with Highfliers Research) centred on the five themes of: employment; breadth and balance of the “earn and learn” offering; inclusion and social mobility; scheme quality; and plans for future growth;
  • Today’s Symposium attended by over 120 delegates from the participating employers; And,
  • The Awards Celebratory Event, hosted by Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee and due to be held in the Palace of Westminster in early December. 

The Symposium included a presentation of the key findings by Martin Birchall, the Audit Research Director (and Managing Director of Highfliers), as seen through the lens of the 52 Larger Employers as well as that of the 21 SME participants. The headlines were:

  • Larger Employers participants were averaging 8% of their workforce on the schemes.
  • The SMEs were performing better with an average of 12%. 

In terms of recovery from the pandemic, it was reassuring to see the growth trajectories for the schemes.

  • The larger employers were looking to grow their schemes by an average of 15%
  • The SMEs projected slightly more growth, with an average projection of 25%.

The Symposium also explored the wider findings with a panel of leading experts including:

  • Sharon Blyfield, Head of Early Career, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Limited
  • Edward Donkor, Director of Employer Engagement, Social Mobility Commission
  • Mark Lomas, Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, HS2

Mark Cameron OBE, Chief Executive at The 5% Club said, “We set out to create a scheme that recognises the efforts of all those Employers who invest in their workforce through a broad range of workplace learning schemes. It is fantastic that in these challenging times so many are able to commit to the Employer Audit and to gain the credit for their efforts, and that the majority are striving to expand their schemes over the coming years. Their efforts and achievements are to be applauded.” 

Gill Cronin, Director of Operations at The 5% Club added: “Having seen The Club grow to more than 600 members, I am always impressed at the commitment, drive and energy our members channel into offering “earn and learn” skills opportunities. To now see so many of these members gain bronze, silver and gold accredited membership of The Club is inspiring and demonstrates how these companies are all contributing to the future of skills in our economy.”

See our list of the 2021-22 Gold, Silver and Bronze members

Find out more information about the Employer Audit Scheme