Apprentices who train with Warwickshire College Group met Nadhim Zahawi MP, Apprenticeships Adviser to the Prime Minister, at a CBI West Midlands event in the run up to National Apprenticeship Week (14-18 March).
Over 80 business leaders attended the CBI West Midlands Apprenticeship Reform event which was hosted at Royal Leamington Spa College on Friday 4 March, where Mr Zahawi was the keynote speaker along with Pippa Morgan, the CBI’s Head of Education and Skills. Warwickshire College Group Principal and CEO Angela Joyce also spoke at the event, showcasing the college group’s achievement in delivering apprenticeships – over 2000 apprentices train with the college every year.
Five apprentices were invited to meet Mr Zahawi, also a local MP for Stratford-on-Avon, before he spoke at the event. They were Sofi Buzzard, a higher apprentice in engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, Emily MacFadyen, Digital and Social Media apprentice at Solo Trading, Stratford and three apprentices from Warwickshire College Group – Mark Treadwell, Social Media Apprentice, Joe Fletcher, Accounting Apprentice and Ryan Ward, Finance Apprentice.
Mr Zahawi said, ““The apprentices I met at Warwickshire College Group were inspirational examples of what young people can do when given a chance. It’s always fascinating to speak to apprentices themselves to hear directly about the opportunity they have and how they’re getting on.
“Apprenticeships are such a brilliant pathway to so many amazing careers, whether you’re thinking about marketing, automotive design, law, software design or any one of the hundreds of other options. I’d urge young people to fully consider what the best option is for them, and whether an apprenticeship might be the best route to go.”
Mark Treadwell, 20, from Stratford said, “It was really good to meet Mr Zahawi – he asked about my apprenticeship and how long I’d been at doing it so I explained I’ve been here for three years as I completed a Level 2 apprenticeship in Marketing before moving on to the Level 3 apprenticeship in Social Media. I think apprenticeships are a great route into the workplace – you get so much training and experience, and you’re getting paid at the same time.”
Following his meeting with the apprenticeships, Mr Zahawi gave a speech to the CBI members followed by a Question and Answer session.
CBI West Midlands Director, Richard Butler, said, “Business is committed to working with the Government to tackle head on the skills shortages many of our high-growth sectors face in the West Midlands. The UK must do better in producing more technicians which is at the very heart of our skills problems.
“With the demand for skills on the rise, if the apprenticeship levy is going to work it must have the flexibility for firms to continue to train according to business and industry need.”
Warwickshire College Group is one of the region’s largest training providers, and has recently been shortlisted in the prestigious TES FE Awards in the Apprenticeship Programme of the Year category. The college group offers a range of apprenticeships in a wide variety of industries. For more information, go to www.warwickshire.ac.uk/apprenticeships or call 0300 456 0046.