Ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) and as a Parliamentary Apprenticeship Champion, Robin Walker MP has welcomed the statement by the Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, outlining how the Government is committed to achieving three million high quality apprenticeships starts by 2020.

The Minister told the Commons how Government reforms are putting employers at the heart of developing new apprenticeship standards which set out what an apprentice must learn to be competent in an occupation and the amount of work experience they are given. In addition, the Government will fund double in cash terms the annual level of spending on apprenticeships in England to £2.5 billion via the apprenticeship levy on large employers. Robin has welcomed this Government policy and particularly, the details that from April, employers of apprenticeships under the age of 25 will no longer be required to pay National Insurance contributions.

Robin has frequently called for more high quality apprenticeships and the Government is today legislating to create a new ‘Institute for Apprenticeships’ from April 2017 to advise on standards and assessment plans. Combined with the key target for public sector bodies with more than 250 staff to ensure 2.3% of those are apprentices and the important target of extending opportunity for ethnic diversity in apprenticeships, today’s measures are an example of how apprenticeships offer a brilliant opportunity for local businesses to help develop the careers of talented young people here in Worcester, and ensuring the workforce of the future has the skills it needs.

Robin recently met with last year’s Worcestershire Apprentice of the Year Victoria Rawlings as the Replacement Service, who is looking to start her own business supporting apprentices and was delighted to hear that local fundraising and event group Worcestershire Ambassadors, of which he is a member have set out to hire their very first apprentice.

Robin, who served on the BIS Select Committee in the last Parliament and works as PPS to the Education Secretary now, said:

“I hope that every local business will be encouraged by take part in next week’s National Apprenticeship Week. Ahead of the budget, I am delighted to see the Government making clear its commitment to keeping on the drive for both quality and quantity of opportunities for apprentices. We have already seen thousands of local people benefit from apprenticeships and more and more local businesses taking advantage of the billions being invested by the Government in this programme. I believe Worcestershire can do even more than it already has in giving young people the opportunity to earn learn and I am thrilled to see that recent apprentices are already becoming the valued employees and entrepreneurs of the future. It is absolutely the case that in World Class Worcestershire, apprentices are rising to the top.”

Nick Boles, Minister of State for Skills said:
“The Government have great ambitions for our apprenticeships programme. In the previous Parliament, 2.4 million people started an apprenticeship; by 2020, we want a further 3 million to have that opportunity. We do not just want to see more apprenticeships; we want better apprenticeships in more sectors, covering more roles. The first thing we need to do is persuade more employers to offer apprenticeships…. I hope that the House of Commons will today speak with one voice. Apprenticeships are for everyone and can take you anywhere.”

Notes to Editors:

The ninth annual National Apprenticeship Week which takes place from 14-18 March 2016, with hundreds of events expected to take place across England. The Week, which is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the economy.  Every year the Week increases in popularity and National Apprenticeship Week 2015 was a huge success. For 2016, supporters are encouraged to organise events and activity around that will help us to realise our overarching theme for the Week, which is ‘Rise to the top’.

Businesses can make their pledge via: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pledge-o-meter-and-events-map-live-for-national-apprenticeship-week-2016

The Minister’s statement can be found here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2016-03-10a.452.0&s=speaker%3A24766#g452.1

More information on the Government’s vision for Apprenticeships can be found here:


Further resources for National Apprenticeship Week can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/naw-2016-resources-tools-and-templates

For information on the Worcestershire Ambassadors who are taking on their first apprentice see: http://www.worcestershireambassadors.com/

To read Victoria Rawlings’ blog:


To find out about Apprenticeship opportunities in Worcestershire: http://worcsapprenticeships.org.uk/

For Robin’s previous campaigning on apprenticeships see: https://www.walker4worcester.com/robin-lends-his-support-to-the-parliamentary-100-in-100-apprenticeships-campaign/