“The news published today by UCAS that it will make it even easier for students to apply for apprenticeships is music to my ears”, remarks Karen Barnacle, Group HR Manager at Bri-Stor Group.  This announcement comes on the back of the news that about half of sixth formers are considering an apprenticeship as well as university.

Karen continues: “this is the first year we have formally launched our Higher Apprenticeship scheme and we will be taking on 11 students across a range of disciplines.  We have been overwhelmed by applicants, which demonstrates the appetite for high-quality vocational training.  We have been running an apprenticeship scheme for 11 years and each year we recruit around 15 students who embark on an exciting and dynamic career within our Group.  There is no question that attitudes towards apprenticeships are changing in a positive way and the more we can do to demonstrate the real value of an apprenticeship is incredibly valuable.”

A lack of information regarding apprenticeships is one of the biggest challenges facing students considering their options and the report published by UCAS cites ‘misplaced snobbery’ as one of the main deterrents for students.  Karen continues: “We have seen a big shift in attitudes from students and their families in the last few years, in the early days of our scheme we had very few applicants and each year the numbers increase.  All year round we receive interest from students trying to get ahead of the game and we welcome this tenacity.  We always invite parents to come and visit us too, making these huge choices about future career and education is likely to be the biggest decision a student has ever made – and we support them through that process.

“Our success story in the delivery of a fully accredited Apprenticeship Scheme is down to the relationship we have with local schools and colleges.  Many of the barriers to apprenticeships cited in the report is down to a lack of communication between employers and educational bodies, but this is an easy fix and we welcome the opportunity of sharing our best practice with others.  There’s no question, skills development is an absolutely critical priority for our local and national economic prosperity and we will continue to put our Apprenticeship Scheme at the very top of our business agenda.”

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