SME-backed apprenticeship group receives government praise » SMEInsider

SME-backed apprenticeship group receives government praise

Apprenticeship campaign group the 5% Club has gained its 100th member within two years of its formation, with the government praising the group’s efforts to ensure that five per cent of all UK workforces are apprentices.

The 5% Club launched in October 2013 with just six members: QinetiQ, MBDA, Babcock, Renishaw, Atkins and Airbus. Over half of all its members are small and microbusinesses.

The group calls on businesses to commit to ensuring that 5 per cent of their workforce contains apprentices, graduates or sponsored students within a five-year time-frame. Responsible for more than 300,000 employees nationwide, the 5% club has provided 36,000 young people with work opportunities.

In nearly two years of campaigning, the club has seen companies ranging from micro businesses to FTSE 250 companies commit to the pledge with more than half of all members being SMEs.

The campaign has received support from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Ministry of Defence who became a member earlier in the year.

Almost two years later and the 5% club welcome Sellafield, a nuclear power-plant based in Cumbria as its 100th member. Les Agnew, head of education and skills at Sellafield hopes that its membership in the 5% club will increase its commitment to hiring apprentices.

Government officials have already praised the 5% club, including Nick Boles, the government’s skills minister.

‘‘Training workers and hiring apprentices are the fundamental building blocks to creating a richer, more productive and highly skilled workforce,’’ said Boles.

‘‘Sellafield Ltd and The 5% Club set a great example for how employers can ensure young people receive the skills they and their industries need to succeed.’’

The 5% Club has also welcomed ten other new members into its ranks, including Maurice Flynn & Sons, H E Simm, Umbrella Marketing Team, Tharsus Group, Wilmott Dixon, Osborne, Armour Construction, Wates, Brookfield Multiplex and Keepmoat taking its total membership to 110 British businesses in total.