The week 9-13th March was National Apprenticeship Week, and Nicola has been busy visiting local apprentices, businesses and training providers in her constituency to hear more about apprenticeships locally.
She visited Ace Training in Kidlington, where she was joined by the Minister for Business, Matthew Hancock MP, and they heard about their apprenticeship programmes such as ‘ApprenticeSWAP’, ‘Wheels 2 Work Oxfordshire’ and ‘Employer Ownership’. Nicola and the Minister met apprentices taking part in the ApprenticeSWAP, in which female hairdressing Apprentices from Introtrain step into the boots of male construction Apprentices, and vice versa.
This proved an important way to look at gender stereotyping in those industries – the number of females in trade occupations is estimated to be as low as 2%. For more information about Ace Training, visit their website: http://www.a-c-e-training.com/
Nicola and Matthew Hancock also attended a reception to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week at Exeter College, Oxford, attended by apprentices and managers from across the University, as well as training providers and representatives of local Government organisations that support apprentice ships across Oxfordshire. Oxford University announced they were committed to expanding their apprenticeship programme to include 150 more apprentices and 50 more trainees over the next two years.
Nicola also held a roundtable and education showcase with construction businesses, the Local Enterprise Partnership, local authorities and training providers to agree measures necessary to ensure upcoming City and Growth Deal infrastructure projects benefit local apprentices and that both enough apprenticeship training places are available and that enough school leavers are attracted into apprenticeships in crucial construction trades given the current skills shortage.
Since 2010, there have been over 2 million apprenticeship starts in England, available in over 170 industries including aerospace, fashion, broadcast media and finance, and around 90% of apprentices stay in employment after finishing their apprenticeship. Women now account for 55% of apprenticeships and, in addition, 82% of apprentices say it had improved their ability to do the job and 79% said their career prosepcts had improved as a result. Conservatives are committed not only to delivering 3 million more apprenticeships in the next Parliament but also to intro ducting degree level apprenticeships.
There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice or start an apprenticeship!