Mayor urges A-Level students to consider apprenticeships

13 August 2015

As thousands of Londoners receive their A-Level results this morning the Mayor of London is reminding them that an apprenticeship could potentially be a fantastic first step in their career.


Apprenticeships allow young Londoners to get into the labour market from day one and allow them to participate in London’s economic success, gaining a qualification while being paid and opening pathways into numerous and diverse careers.


More and more specialised and highly skilled apprenticeships are being offered each year in areas such as legal services, banking and engineering. Degree-level apprenticeships are already available in the Automotive and Digital industries and the Government is committed to rolling out many more degree apprenticeships, allowing young people to combine the benefits of a world-class degree with an ‘earn while you learn’ apprenticeship.


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “I would like to see as many young Londoners as possible getting onto the first rung of the career ladder by signing up for an apprenticeship programme. I urge each and every one of you clutching an A-Level results statement today to consider a path that will equip you with the skills and opportunities to excel.”


As well as being a great career option for thousands of young Londoners, apprenticeships are proving to help London’s businesses and economy to grow. They allow businesses to fill skills gaps with a motivated and qualified workforce, reduce training and recruitment costs, increase staff retention and productivity, improve customer service results, and provide financial return on investment.


The Mayor’s Ambassador for Training and Enterprise, Tim Campbell, said: “Apprentices are hard-working, highly motivated people with the initiative and courage to find ways of learning new skills and earning money at the same time. Apprenticeships should be seen as an investment by employers. Where that investment is nurtured, the returns to the businesses are tremendous.”


Chloe Jervis, aged 21, joined Frank PR as an apprentice in September 2012 and is now the youngest Senior Account Executive at the firm. She left school with four A-Levels, all at A and B grade. Chloe said: "In August 2012, I finished Sixth Form with a strong set of A-Level results and a place at The University of Sheffield – but I knew that I didn’t want to pay £9,000 a year for a degree I wasn't sure I wanted to do.


"Instead of taking the place, I decided to pursue an apprenticeship and looked for PR opportunities online after my mum said I'd be good at it. Turns out she was right; PR seems to come naturally to me. I'm now nearly three years in, working on award winning campaigns at an award winning agency and even heading to Rio soon after winning 2014's Employee of the Year!


"Going down the apprenticeship route gave me a foot in the door that I never would have had otherwise – I couldn't recommend it more."


Around 200,000 Londoners have started apprenticeships since 2010. The number of young people not in education, employment or training in London is at its lowest since records began and is the lowest of all English regions, whilst the latest employment rate for 16-24 year olds is the highest since 2007.


The Mayor and the wider Greater London Authority family are playing a part in creating apprenticeships. Since April 2009, Transport for London and its supply chain have created almost 5,500 apprenticeship roles. Crossrail and its contractors pledged to offer 400 apprenticeship roles over the lifetime of the major construction project and they have reached this target with three years to go. The transport apprentices are working on some of the biggest transport projects in the world, including the Tube modernisation programme as well as the £4bn Road Modernisation Plan. With London’s population at an all-time high, these apprentices are playing a vital part in supporting 30 million journeys every day, whilst supporting jobs and economic growth in London and across the UK.


Emma Gray, aged 22, is a Higher Apprentice in the Mayor’s Environment team who left school with A-Levels in Politics, Philosophy and Art, all at B grade. Emma said: “At school, it was expected that everyone went to university and there was no guidance on other options. I was interested in politics and luckily saw Boris Johnson calling for apprentices on his Twitter feed, so I applied to the City Hall scheme. I thought it looked great and it sounded like my dream job. I wanted to gain some practical life experience and earn money, so an apprenticeship was perfect for me. Since I’ve been at City Hall I’ve met and worked with MPs and ambassadors, which has been great for improving my people skills and a fantastic experience.”


All apprentices living in London aged 18 or over and in their first year of an approved course can save 30 percent against the price of adult rate Travelcards and Bus & Tram Passes with an Apprenticeship Oyster photocard, which could save them over £600 a year.

Notes to editors

  1. The Mayor is investing £130m from the European Social Fund to improve the employability of Londoners over the next three years, including supporting young people to learn workplace skills.
  2. The London Enterprise Panel, chaired by the Mayor, doubled the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers to £3,000 per apprentice (between 1st  Jan and 30 June 2015) in order to encourage more small and medium-sized businesses to take on young people in these roles.
  3. The Mayor has commissioned a £1.8m Employer Led Apprenticeship Creation Programme to encourage new approaches to engaging businesses who have not taken on apprentices and support them in creating new apprenticeship opportunities in London.   The project will engage a minimum of 4200  businesses resulting in  a minimum 3650  Apprenticeship starts.
  4. The Mayor is funding the Apprenticeship Information Ambassadors Network to work with schools across the capital to ensure that students are aware of apprenticeships as a potential progression route.   The project will help 500 young people into apprenticeship roles.
  5. The Mayor and London Enterprise Panel recently launched the London Ambitions Careers Offer which will help schools and colleges deliver a high quality careers guidance offer and build better links with employers.