Government launches £2.5m apprenticeship campaign

The ad campaign will challenge ‘snobby’ attitudes about apprenticeships, education secretary Damian Hinds has said

George Ryan

The advertising campaign has the slogan "Fire it Up" and aims to challenge snobby ideas about apprenticeships

The education secretary has said it is “vital” that the government’s new £2.5 million advertising campaign shifts “deeply held views” on apprenticeships.  

Damian Hinds was speaking ahead of the launch of the campaign, which aims to raise awareness of "the huge variety of apprenticeship options available for people of all ages and backgrounds”.

In November, the government announced it had awarded M&C Saatchi – one of the world’s most renowned advertising houses – the contract to relaunch the Department for Education’s struggling apprenticeships programme. The company was launched by Maurice and Charles Saatchi in 1995 and has produced well-known ad campaigns for the Conservative and Labour parties.

The “fire it up” message will be seen on national TV and social media adverts, and a new website will be launched to provide advice and access to thousands of apprenticeship opportunities across the country.

‘Outdated and snobby attitudes’

Education secretary Damian Hinds said the apprenticeship system has “come of age”.

He added: “The sad truth is that outdated and snobby attitudes are still putting people off apprenticeships, which means they’re missing out on great jobs and higher salaries – many of them in the sorts of firms graduates look to land jobs with after university.

One of the apprenticeships Fire it Up adverts

“It’s vital that we challenge people’s thinking about apprenticeships, which is why the Government’s new ‘fire it up’ campaign will aim to shift deeply held views and drive more people towards an apprenticeship.

“At the same time, we need to make sure that young people have access to information about all of the opportunities that are out there, so we are taking action to make sure all schools invite a wide range of providers in to help young people choose the right career path for them.”

Number of apprenticeship starts down by almost a third

The government hopes its campaign will help reverse a decline in the number of people starting apprenticeships. Since the flagship apprenticeship levy was introduced in April 2017, the number of people starting apprenticeships has dramatically declined – 341,700 starts were reported between August 2017 and June 2018 for the 2017-18 academic year, which is down 28 per cent on the 2016-17 total of 472,500 starts. In 2015-16, there were 458,500 starts.

Skills minister Anne Milton revealed the value of the contract to be more than £2.5 million in the 2018-19 financial year, in response to a written question from Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.

Ms Milton said the contract – which was awarded following a competitive tender – covers the development of a “new integrated communications campaign to change perceptions of apprenticeships and to encourage more people to see the positive value that apprenticeships can have on their business or their career”.

It includes agency fees, the cost of producing the new advertising campaign and promotional content, the development of a new digital service and third-party costs, such as research.

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George Ryan

George Ryan

George Ryan is a further education reporter for tes

Find me on Twitter @GeorgeMRyan

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