THE 2014 National Apprenticeship Week organised by the National Apprenticeship Service runs from March 3 to 7.
Its objectives in 2014 are to: increase awareness, understanding and demand for apprenticeships; celebrate apprenticeship talent, skills, achievements and successes; and to promote all apprenticeship levels and progression routes, including traineeships.
The overarching theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2014 is "great apprenticeships": "great businesses" are made by apprentices and apprenticeships lead to "great prospects".
It aims to demonstrate that apprenticeships are great for businesses, personal careers and creating opportunities for both employers and apprentices.
Apprenticeship vacancies up 25%
Commenting on the latest data showing that UK apprentice vacancies have increased by 25% year on year, Matthew Hancock MP, skills and enterprise minister, said: "With new independent research revealing that one in five employers currently have former apprentices working in senior, board level, positions, it's also very encouraging to see vacancies increasing and new employers coming on board.
"But with each online position attracting an average of 12 applications, demand continues to outstrip supply and I would urge more employers to consider how they can take advantage of this available pool of talent and grow their business through apprenticeships."
Regional activities to increase awareness and vacancies during the week include an Apprenticeship, Skills and Employment event at Exeter Race Course on March 5.
Careers South West and Devon County Council are hosting the event to attract employers, candidates and training organisations from across the county to come together under one roof.
The day will kick off with a business breakfast for employers considering taking on an apprentice featuring key speaker Greg Fitzgerald, chief executive of Galliford Try, an ex-apprentice himself. The event is aimed at businesses interested in using the apprenticeship programme for the first time, young people from Devon Schools looking for an apprenticeship as well as adults seeking employment opportunities.
North Devon activities
While local schools will be taking part in activities during the week itself from March 3 to 7, the North Devon Apprenticeship Showcase will take place the following week on March 13 at the Barnstaple Hotel.
Specific toolkits have been created for use by sector skills councils and other support organisations, employers, training providers and colleges, schools and apprentices wanting to participate in National Apprenticeship Week 2014. Visit apprenticeships.org.uk for details.