National Apprenticeship Week 2024 in the UK, held from 5-11 February, is a significant event for the education and skills sector, bringing together a variety of stakeholders to celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

This year’s theme is “Skills for Life,” which emphasises the importance of apprenticeships in providing essential skills for diverse career paths.

The event highlights several key points:

Apprenticeships addressing skills gaps: Apprenticeships are seen as crucial in addressing skills and labour shortages in various sectors. They are increasingly recognised as a pathway into work and a means for individuals to upskill throughout their careers. This is particularly relevant in emerging sectors like AI and Green Skills​

Diversity in apprenticeship opportunities: The variety of apprenticeship opportunities, particularly in the tech sector, has been a focus. This includes roles in digital and technology at major consultancies, cybersecurity, energy, engineering and banking. It’s noted that individuals from diverse academic backgrounds, including those from non-STEM fields, can pursue careers in tech through apprenticeships.

Sector response and growth: There’s been an 11% increase in the number of young people starting their apprenticeship journey, with young people making up over half of all apprenticeship starts. The government plans to invest £2.7 billion in apprenticeships by 2024-25, reflecting their role in developing a high-skill, high-productivity economy.

Policy recommendations and reforms: Discussions around reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy and providing more incentives for SMEs have been prominent. The focus is on how apprenticeships and technical education can contribute to skilling the workforce for success in the 21st-century economy.

If you’re looking to contribute to the success of National Apprenticeship Week 2024, particularly in the tech sector, there are several ways you can help:

Raising awareness: One of the key challenges is the lack of awareness about the benefits and opportunities of apprenticeships. By promoting apprenticeship programs, especially on social media and through community engagement, you can help to change perceptions and encourage more people to consider this path​

Offering apprenticeships: If you’re in a position of influence within a company, especially in the tech sector, consider offering apprenticeships. These provide valuable on-the-job training and can help your business by bringing in fresh perspectives and new skills. It’s also a great way to contribute to the development of the future workforce.

Engagement with educational institutions: Collaborating with schools, colleges, and universities can be a powerful way to promote apprenticeships. This could involve giving talks, offering work experience opportunities, or partnering with institutions for apprenticeship programs.

Policy advocacy: Engage in discussions and advocacy regarding reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy and other policies affecting apprenticeships. By contributing to policy debates, you can help shape a more favourable environment for apprenticeships, benefiting both learners and employers.

Mentoring and support: If you have experience in your field, consider becoming a mentor for apprentices. Your guidance can be invaluable in helping them navigate their career paths and develop the necessary skills.

Hosting events and workshops: Organising events, workshops or webinars during National Apprenticeship Week can be a great way to engage with potential apprentices and employers. These events can focus on the benefits of apprenticeships, career advice and insights into different industries.

Partnerships with training providers: Collaborate with training providers to ensure the apprenticeship programs are relevant and up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies. This ensures that apprentices are learning skills that are in demand.

Supporting Diversity and Inclusion: Encouraging diversity in apprenticeship programs is crucial. This means advocating for and supporting the inclusion of underrepresented groups in tech and other sectors.

Creating content and resources: Developing resources, like guides or informative content about apprenticeships in the tech sector, can be a useful way to inform and encourage potential apprentices and employers.

Networking and community building: Participate in or create networks and communities that support apprentices, employers, and training providers. These platforms can be used for sharing best practices, opportunities, and experiences.

The success of National Apprenticeship Week and the broader apprenticeship initiative relies on the collective effort of individuals, businesses, educators and policymakers working together to build a skilled and capable workforce for the future.

Further information can be found below.