The 5% Club is Ten Years Young!


To mark their Tenth Anniversary, The 5% Club is today hosting a celebration reception in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey with over one hundred patrons, sponsors, funders and stakeholders. The event marks the enduring relevance of the Charity, its continued and remarkable growth across its first decade, and the social impact being delivered across the “earn and learn” schemes delivered by a membership that now numbers over 820 Employer organisations, and is growing by over 25% each year.

The event will be hosted by the Board of Trustees, The 5% Club Founder – Leo Quinn (Group Chief Executive, Balfour Beatty) and The 5% Club Chief Executive, Mark Cameron OBE. The keynote speech will be given by Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, with further comment provided by John Cope, Director of Strategy, Policy and Public Affairs at UCAS, partners for The 5% Club Tenth Anniversary year. 

The 5% Club exists to inspire positive employer action for increased, accessible and inclusive workplace learning for all, and it remains free to join – new members sign a charter where they aspire to grow their workplace learning schemes to 5% of their workforce within 5-years of joining, to encourage others to join the movement, and to publish annually their achievements and progress towards the 5% goal. The impressive membership represents a combined workforce of over 1.6 Million Employees, with nearly 100,000 staff members engaged in workplace learning through “earn and learn” programmes – Apprenticeships, Graduate Schemes and Sponsored Students.

Reflecting on the first decade of the movement he founded, Leo Quinn commented:  “I founded The 5% Club in 2013 to tackle the UK’s stubborn national skills shortage and poverty arising from high youth unemployment. While there is still a long road ahead of us, we have made great strides in the last ten years. 

“Today we are celebrating the 820 organisations who have recognised the part they have to play in providing skills and opportunities for the UK’s future workforce. It is vital that we continue this positive trajectory so that up and down the country, young people are provided with fulfilling and lifelong careers. I look forward to seeing the positive change The 5% Club and its member organisations can make in the next ten years.”

Many organisations and people have been instrumental in creating and growing The 5% Club over its formative first decade, none more so than Dr Sam Healy BEM, Group Director ESG at QinetiQ, who ran The 5% Club on behalf of then QinetiQ CEO Leo Quinn, working tirelessly in its early years. Commenting on the Anniversary and the celebration event, Sam said:

“Ten years on, it is wonderful to see The 5% Club, as a vibrant and successful movement, bringing together so many organisations who share a passion and commitment to support young people through their earn and learn programmes.  

It was a great pleasure to be actively involved in something so important and impactful and many congratulations to Leo, Mark, Gill and the board who continue to drive its success. I look forward to seeing what can be achieved in the next ten years!” 

Other invited guests include Bridget Phillipson MP – Shadow Secretary of State for Education – and senior policy officials from The Department for Education. Patron Members past and present – who through generosity fund the movement – will also be present with C suite representation from Accuracy, Balfour Beatty PLC, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin UK, MBDA, QinetiQ, Schneider Electric and WSP. 

Commenting on the Event, Mark Naysmith, Chief Executive, WSP UK & EMEA, said

“I warmly congratulate The 5% Club on its ten-year anniversary and look forward to continuing our close work together into the future. Both WSP and The 5% Club believe in the importance of investment in early careers and recognise the vital contribution these professionals make to an organisation. At WSP, we’re proud to be nurturing the careers of almost 900 early career professionals across the UK, including many in earn-and-learn positions, and our patronage of The 5% Club has been instrumental in driving this programme forward.” 

Paul Livingston, Chief Executive Lockheed Martin UK said:

“Lockheed Martin is proud to be a Patron member of The 5% Club, which accelerates work to advance skills and bridge the UK’s national skills gap. Our award-winning early careers programme develops a highly skilled and well paid workforce that contributes to economic growth, innovation, national security, and industrial resilience across the country.”

 Andy Baker, MBDA HR Manager Recruitment & Early Careers Programmes, expanded by saying:

“MBDA is proud to be a Patron of The 5% Club. Sharing our commitment in delivering quality early career programmes and ensuring young people of today have the critical skills for tomorrow, The 5% Club offers recognition and accreditation in support of our dedication towards inclusive workplace learning. Through steering groups and advisory panels, MBDA can help shape strategy and offer an opportunity to share best practice and discuss key issues with other members. The continued rise of The 5% Club has been extraordinary and MBDA are honoured to be able to celebrate this 10th anniversary and we congratulate everyone associated with this remarkable achievement.”

Lynda McVay, Skills and Capability Director, Government Affairs at Leonardo, also added:

“Leonardo is committed to giving young people the skills and training which lead to fantastic career and life opportunities. We are proud to have had our success in this recognised by The 5% Club and to share our experience with other employers. This reception, in this unique venue, is a fitting tribute to the 10 years’ efforts of The 5% Club in promoting the interests of young people and the value they bring to UK industry and the economy.”

From Accuracy, Graham Ball, Director, Project Advisory & Disputes, commented:

“The success of major investments and programmes inevitably relies on a workforce that is equipped to meet today’s challenges and anticipates the demands of a rapidly-changing world. We are delighted to support The 5% Club in this ambition and to celebrate its tenth anniversary.”

Sian Vernon, Director of People, UK Defence at QinetiQ, added:

“As a Patron of The 5% Club, QinetiQ strongly believes in the Club’s mission and purpose. Providing accessible and inclusive workplace learning opportunities is key to the future growth of any organisation. The goal to have 5% of the workforce on these schemes provides an achievable and measurable target. We are proud to be a Patron of The 5% Club and to be part of this 10 year celebration!”

Mark Cameron OBE, CEO at The 5% Club said: “I have been involved with The 5% Club in one way or another since early 2018 and now have the privilege to lead the Executive Team to continue to grow our movement and sustain our relevance and impact into our second decade. This event provides a great opportunity to reflect on our Founding back in 2013 and to celebrate the achievements and commitments of those who took the vision and concept and made it a reality.” 

Gill Cronin, Director of Operations at The 5% Club added: “I joined The Club in 2017, just as it became an independent entity and in 2018 we became a charity. It is deeply satisfying to see how The Club has grown in support and influence. But none of this would have been possible without the amazing, committed and socially motivated individuals from our membership who create the skills ‘earn and learn’ opportunities, transforming lives and creating a skilled workforce of the future. Thank you to all our members, it is an honour and pleasure to work with you.”