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Apprenticeship Ambassador Network

Author: Caroline Towner, Apprenticeship Manager

I recently attended the first meeting of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network for the South East area, which took place at Pinewood Studios. I have now worked with apprentices within the catering and construction/engineering industries for 22 years and have seen many changes over the years, with regard to how the qualifications have changed and how apprenticeships are perceived within industry.

I strongly believe in apprenticeships and know that they can give any young person from any background the opportunity to work, earn and be given a chance to shine within the working world.

They are an added benefit to any company and I have seen many over the years succeed and go onto become business owners, in turn employing their own apprentices.

The South East Group is made up of employers from different companies and industries including; Thames Valley Police, Virgin, Telefonica, Oxford University and many more. I am of course representing Costain. There are many benefits to forming this network, but for me the most important is the link into the National Apprenticeship Ambassador Board which has direct access to Government and the Education Minister. It is the link that we hope to influence any changes that may occur with regard to apprenticeships.

One of our major challenges is looking at how we can help supply chains and in particular SME’s employ and support their own apprentices. One of the ways we think this can be achieved is through influencing governmental support of SME’s. There is a responsibility on UK PLC’s too and I feel being part of the network and showcasing Costain and how it is moving forward with apprenticeships will provide a great deal of value to the network and may will help shape the future for all apprentices in the country regardless of what industry they go into.