Apprenticeship champions the IAC (Industry Apprentice Council) and government’s Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business, Gordon Birtwistle MP, have pledged to work together to promote the vocational pathway to UK plc.

Representatives from the IAC met with Mr Birtwistle in Westminster to discuss his role and how apprentices themselves can help promote the vocational pathway to employers, learners and schools.

Brought together and funded by EAL, the specialised awarding organisation for industry qualifications, the IAC aims to give apprentices a national voice for the first time.

Mr Birtwistle said: “I was seriously impressed with the young apprentices in the IAC. Each one has their own success story and they are a credit to themselves, their families and the companies they work for.

“I am thrilled to be joined by the IAC in encouraging Apprenticeships for they are the future. They provide on-the-job training and offer a wage with a career at the end of it. I started my working life as an apprentice and I have never looked back since.

“I am delighted to be working alongside the IAC as they are promoting apprenticeships in the best way possible – engaging with current apprentices and together spreading the important message that it is just as valuable as doing a degree if not more, given the career prospects available to them.”

Elizabeth Bonfield (left), EAL's Head of Business Development, with IAC members Sam Dutton, Jack Stearn, Natalie Harris, Sam Ball and government's Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business Gordon Birtwistle MP

Attending the meeting on behalf of the IAC were Jack Stearn (19), a manufacturing engineering apprentice at Vauxhall, Sam Ball (20), a logistics apprentice at MBDA, Sam Dutton (19), a fabrication and welding apprentice at KMF, and Natalie Harris (18), a fabrication and welding apprentice at Caunton Engineering.

Sam Ball said: “It was a pleasure to meet Gordon Birtwistle today and discuss promotion of apprenticeships with him. It is clear when talking to Gordon that he is incredibly passionate about apprenticeships, and like-minded to the members of the IAC having been an apprentice himself.

“We are all looking forward to working with him in the future, promoting apprenticeships and ensuring that they are seen as a first class educational pathway by learners, schools and employers. It is essential that learners in particular are aware of all of their options and have visibility of the many opportunities that apprenticeships can bring.”

Elizabeth Bonfield, Head of Business Development at EAL, which brought together apprentices to form the IAC from a wide range of manufacturing and engineering employers, also attended the meeting with Gordon Birtwistle MP.

She said: “Working with Gordon, the IAC can be an incredibly valuable voice in promoting the benefits apprentices offer to businesses. The IAC was also founded by EAL to provide a platform to inspire other young people to follow in members’ footsteps, which can help employers fill skills gaps. It is our way of re-investing in the industries we serve and we hope they will have a lasting impact in showing the real benefits that industry Apprenticeships offer.”

The IAC consists of 14 apprentices aged 18 to 24 years old, from companies including: Airbus, BAE Systems, Caunton Engineering, DAF Trucks, Ford Dealerships, Ford GB, KMF, MBDA, National Grid, Nestlé and Vauxhall.

For further information or to get in touch with the IAC visit the official Facebook page.

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