Apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton paid tribute to apprentices today, after being moved by a number of "inspirational" encounters during National Apprenticeship Week.
The former nurse turned politician described how she had spent the past week travelling across England – including visits to Gloucester, Leeds, London, Manchester and York – and “heard incredibly inspiring stories from apprentices working across a huge range of sectors and at all levels”.
She was struck by the diversity of the people she met, from “such different backgrounds”. The minister recalled meeting “women with children returning to part-time work doing degree apprenticeships” as well as “people who started university and decided it wasn’t for them”.
She also spoke to “young people who didn’t do well at school but for whom an apprenticeship has opened a new world of work and learning, building not only their skill but also their confidence and self-esteem”.
Skills minister pledge
In addition, Ms Milton met a number of businesses and employers “who are really positive about the benefits taking on apprentices can bring them”. She added: “Many of them have already kicked off new apprenticeship programmes following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy last year and I’m excited to see where these go – and to see more businesses take advantage of this chance to invest in training and see their business grow.”
The personal testimonies she heard during her travels “show that apprenticeships change lives, lead to rewarding jobs, and change businesses for the better”.
She travelled more than a thousand miles during National Apprenticeship Week in a series of trips. These ranged from visiting food manufacturing apprentices at Kellogg’s head office in Manchester and higher-level and degree apprentices at the head office of Asda in Leeds, to meeting apprentices at colleges in York and Gloucester.
Ms Milton added: “National Apprenticeship Week may be over for this year but every week needs to be about apprentices.”
She pledged: “We will continue to make sure everyone knows how amazing apprenticeships can be. Whatever your background and wherever you come from they change lives and change business for the better.”