Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network of employers aims to boost take-up among people with disabilities and from ethnic minorities
The Department for Education has today announced that a group of businesses have come together to help promote diversity within apprenticeships.
The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network (ADCN) is comprised of 23 employers, including Rolls-Royce, the BBC, BAE Systems and a number of small- and medium-sized employers.
The network has been established to champion apprenticeships and diversity among employers and encourage more people from underrepresented groups, including those with disabilities, women and members of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, to consider apprenticeships.
It will support the government’s commitment to increase the proportion of apprenticeship starts by people from BAME backgrounds by 20 per cent by 2020.
Data published in December revealed that the proportion of those participating in further education and skills who have a learning difficulty or disability had risen steadily over the past six years. In 2008-09, the figure stood at 11.5 per cent, while by 2014-15, it had increased to 17 per cent. However, that was not mirrored in apprenticeship participation. While in 2008-09 around one in 10 participants were recorded as having learning difficulties or a learning disability, that had decreased to 8.6 per cent by 2014-15.
Apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon said: “I am passionate about ensuring that everyone, no matter their background or age, can use apprenticeships to get on the ladder of opportunity to a successful career.
“Although last year saw record numbers of people with a disability or from disadvantaged backgrounds start on a high-quality apprenticeship, we need to do much more. That is why it is vital that so many diverse employers have come together to pledge to do more to ensure apprenticeships are truly open to everyone.”
Nus Ghani MP, chair of the ADCN, said: “I am determined that anyone from anywhere, whatever their background and whatever their story, is able to access the life-changing opportunities that apprenticeships can offer. The benefits of earning while you are learning, coupled with professional certification, will help enable apprentices to achieve a competitive edge in the labour market. Our whole society benefits when aspiration and opportunity is extended to all, and those benefits encompass the economy, community cohesiveness and national pride.”
Written By: Stephen Exley