Tim Campbell, the Mayor’s Apprenticeships Ambassador, on putting the pride back into apprenticeships.
I hanker for the days when the tagline for an apprentice was not solely synonymous with a TV programme or seen as a second tier route for those not able to make it through the 'normal' academic route.
Even when I was growing up in the ‘80s the term 'apprentice' was one of honour and great pride - a rite of passage after the investment from a master tradesman. We all have work to do to make sure London’s businesses continue that great tradition.
Apprenticeships today have a huge place in London’s dynamic and vibrant economy. Whether working with your hands or your brain, the key elements of hard work - learning while doing and earning a wage - remain the cornerstone of good apprenticeships.
In London we have apprenticeships across fashion, digital media, hospitality, accountancy and financial services. We have had major companies such as HSBC, Virgin Media, Cap-Gemini and Microsoft step up to the plate. London’s small and medium sized company base similarly accounts for a large proportion of apprentices in London.
Importantly, the quality of apprenticeships continue to improve, with every apprentice now having a proper contract of employment and completion rates are equivalent to that of university graduates. These are real jobs - with real prospects.
As the Mayor’s Ambassador working with a team in City Hall and the National Apprenticeship Service I will continue to champion apprenticeships to London’s businesses. Let’s not just achieve our 100,000 target, let’s smash it out of the water.
What we need now is for more businesses to step forward and visit www.london.gov.uk/apprenticeships to see how apprenticeships can work for them.