Apprenticeships really are crucial to tackling the skills challenges we face and that is why it is so important to celebrate their success and recognise the role they have to play in helping businesses and individuals grow and prosper.

Throughout National Apprenticeship Week, we will be promoting the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses, highlighting the support available and why offering an apprenticeship or traineeship is easier than they think. We want to myth-bust by addressing people’s misconceptions about apprenticeships, promoting higher apprenticeships and opportunities at blue-chip companies.

And we want to celebrate apprenticeships by focusing on the positive economic impact they have and showing how higher apprenticeships offer a new work-based route into professions that have traditionally been the preserve of graduates.

Throughout this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, we aim to challenge people to think about how much they really know about apprenticeships. Did you know, for example, that 88% of apprentices stay in employment after finishing their apprenticeship?

It is increasingly becoming the norm for people to do an apprenticeship as go to university. The growth of higher level apprenticeships will offer more learners the progression opportunities they need in a rapidly changing jobs market. Some 19% of apprentices progress to higher education.

Did you know that since 2010, more than two million apprenticeships have been started in England? And did you know there are 1,500 different apprenticeships on offer in more than 170 industries?

Businesses are already well versed in the benefits of employing apprentices: a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. Apprentice employers report benefits including improved skills levels, service, morale and productivity. Almost nine in ten employers who had hoped for benefits as a result of hiring an apprentice received them. Did you know that businesses report an average increase in productivity by £214 a week when they hire apprentices?

Our apprenticeship reforms are putting employers in the driving seat – working together to develop world class apprenticeships standards designed by employers for employers. Both large and small organisations have shown a huge desire to get involved. Did you know that more than 1,000 businesses are now involved in designing the new apprenticeship standards?

The continued growth in apprenticeships is pivotal to the success of our country.

There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice or become one.

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The National Apprenticeships Service provides a dedicated service to employers, offering free, expert advice and support to those looking to recruit apprentices or take on a trainee for the first time, or expand their apprenticeship programme. If you’re interested in taking on an apprentice or offering a traineeship call the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600 or go to greatbusiness.gov.uk/apprenticeships