The Mayor Work and Skills

‘Apprenticeships are for everybody ’ says Mayor as National Apprenticeship week begins

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham is encouraging anyone interested in kickstarting their career to take advantage of free virtual and in-person events taking place across Greater Manchester this National Apprenticeship Week.

National Apprenticeship Week takes place from 6th to 12th February and events happening across the city-region will showcase apprenticeship opportunities for all ages in sectors ranging from digital to hospitality.

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week this year is ‘Skills for Life’ with a focus on how apprenticeships are helping to contribute to lifelong learning and the benefits apprenticeships can have on individuals, businesses and local communities in Greater Manchester.

There are a series of free virtual events taking place, including the Digital Skills Festival, Apprenticeship 101 and Festival of Apprenticeships. Employers such as United Utilities, Microsoft, Siemens, Nando’s, Parklife and The Warehouse Project will be taking part in virtual Meet Your Future events. 49,000 young people have already signed up to the Meet Your Future events, which aim to connect young people with employers, giving them the opportunity to explore their next steps before leaving school.

A number of colleges will be hosting in-person open days and evenings for potential learners, including Salford City College, Hopwood Hall College and University Centre and Bury College. Employers who want to find out more about apprenticeships are also being encouraged to attend events, including the Believe in Business Festival in Wigan, where businesses can attend seminars, workshops and panel discussions on skills opportunities. A full list of events can be found here.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: 

“I would encourage anyone looking to kickstart their career to take advantage of all the amazing opportunities Greater Manchester has to offer during National Apprenticeship Week. 

“Apprenticeships are for everybody no matter your age or background, they are a great way to learn on the job while gaining a qualification and developing your career opportunities.

“Apprenticeships play a vital role in our ambition to create the country’s first integrated technical education system in Greater Manchester, they play a big part in addressing skills shortages, developing the skills of employees and building Greater Manchester’s economy.”

Kundai, 21, is currently working towards a Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability qualification, while working for fashion brand, N Brown. She praised the scheme for helping her to develop new skills while working.

Kundai said:

“Going down the apprenticeship route has helped me to kickstart my career in a way that allows me to make a difference in this sector before I complete my qualification.

“It has provided me the perfect balance of growing my theoretical knowledge while gaining hands-on experience and developing skills that come from directly being in the workplace. As well as providing me with a clear career progression.

“The best thing is learning from industry experts, as in my apprenticeship programme we have a monthly masterclass where I’m constantly learning new things around the topic. It’s great being able to share that knowledge with others and implement it into what we’re doing as a team at work.

“There’s a wide variety of apprenticeships to get involved in, so make sure you choose the right one for you by doing lots of research, attending events and careers fairs. I recommend reaching out to current apprentices to ask them questions- you may get the opportunity to do a work experience placement or shadow someone for a day.”

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, GMCA lead for Education, Work, Skills, Apprenticeships and Digital, said: 

“Apprenticeships are a hugely important part of our vision for making Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old.

“A place where everyone can access the very best career and training opportunities, across a broad spectrum of industries.

“Apprenticeships are a great asset to any company; I encourage employers to think about creating apprenticeship positions and help develop the skills of Greater Manchester’s future workforce."

In the last academic year (2021-22) the number of people starting apprenticeships was up 3% compared to last year, with the big increases in the finance, law, hospitality and construction sectors. Figures show that the biggest increase of apprenticeships is in people aged 19-24, with an additional 750 people in this age group starting apprenticeships in Greater Manchester this year.

Many businesses have also shared the various benefits of hiring an apprentice. Employers say they are a great investment for the future of the business as they have helped to upskill employees and boost the productivity of their workforce.

Young people (aged 11-30) are encouraged to utilise the Greater Manchester Apprenticeship and Careers Service (GMACS) to explore options for their future and find out about apprenticeship opportunities. With over 100,000 users, GMACS is a hub of tools, resources, opportunities, events and more - bringing together different stages of the career planning process to help young people.

For more information on apprenticeships for learners of all ages and for employers please visit: Greater Manchester Combined Authority Work and Skills Apprenticeships page

Article Published: 06/02/2023 12:44 PM