Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Apprentice Ambassadors to be recruited to spread message of vocational training direct to classrooms

  • Scheme will address skills and employment gaps in core regional industries 
  • Project will focus on opportunity in areas where take-up is lower 
  • Work with Government ‘Nudge Unit’ will use behavioural insights to stimulate interest

A fresh intake of apprentices will go into schools and colleges to act as ambassadors as they talk to other young people about the benefits of vocational training and T-levels. 

The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) Careers Hub has teamed up with the Government’s Behavioural Insights Team – the so-called ‘Nudge Unit’ – for an innovative project designed to get pupils and families thinking differently about apprenticeships. 

UK-wide research found that two-thirds of young people have not discussed traineeships or T-Levels at school. Just over 14% of students had never heard about apprenticeships.  

The new project will address this by building a network of Apprentice Ambassadors (AAs) to go into schools and colleges across Leicester and Leicestershire to answer questions about their experience and inspire others to consider it as a career path. 

The project will increase the number of local AAs being recruited, trained and made available for classroom engagement. AAs will be from a range of sectors and social backgrounds. They will be supported by Employer Ambassadors (EAs) who have a desire to support their communities and develop pipelines of new talent.  

Kevin Harris, the Chair of the LLEP board, said: “By teaming up with Government behavioural insight specialists, we have created an innovative new approach whereby young people can discuss apprenticeships in their classrooms with AAs that they can relate to. 

“Developing this project will help to increase the region’s productivity by ensuring that we have people with the skills needed by our employers. 

 “It will also focus on parts of the region where apprenticeships are not typically being taken up.

“Such inclusivity is important because young people are particularly impacted by changes in the labour market which reduce entry-level positions typically catered for by apprenticeships.” 

The project is part of the LLEP’s Careers Hub and Apprenticeship Strategy ambition to have a diverse Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (AAN) which engages and inspires the region’s future workforce. 

It will ultimately help to change perceptions about apprenticeships in the region. Young people who express an interest in vocational training will be introduced to the local Apprenticeship Skills and Knowledge Team (ASK) and the Careers Hub network. 

The LLEP is now looking for local employers to join the AAN as EAs. In doing so they will develop the skills of their own apprentices, create a pipeline of future talent, and give back to schools in their communities. 

Local organisations working with apprentices, including all local FE colleges, Cadent Gas and the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, have already pledged support. 

Pieter Eksteen, Education and Business Partnership Manager at the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, said: “Families are the biggest influencers of career decisions by children and this new project will make a difference by demonstrating to them that apprenticeships are an excellent option for school leavers and a genuine alternative to university.” 

Gerarde Manley, Careers Hub Manager at the LLEP, said:  “Leading on this project with a broad range of partners will help inspire young people to hear first-hand about the broad range of apprenticeships available locally and where it can lead them.” 

The project has been launched as part of National Apprenticeship Week. Local employers, schools and colleges are now invited to identify up to 10 young people in their organisation to join the network.  

The project will run through to July 2022. Learn more, or express interest in becoming an EA, by visiting https://bit.ly/LLEPApprenticeAmbassadors 

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