What I’ve Learned From National Apprenticeship Week

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2022 by Andrew Crabtree4 comments
It’s the first year I have been actively involved in National Apprenticeship Week. But is it just a waste of time?

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW, #naw, or #naw2022) is an entire week dedicated to apprenticeship opportunities across the UK.

Apprenticeships typically include 3-4 years working and training in a particular field with an employer. They are the backbone of the workforce of the future.

During the week, there are tons of physical and virtual events with all the supporting social media activity you would expect. 

The activity during the week includes people working to promote apprenticeships in general regardless of industry, company or role. Others, like myself, push apprenticeships in a particular sector. And, individual companies promote their apprenticeship opportunities for the upcoming year.

Although apprenticeships are available to all, most applicants (due to the relatively low pay) will be young people leaving high school or college within the year.

Young people have hundreds of opportunities to choose from. However, the numbers are not stacked in their favour

The Reality

Through Get Into Nuclear, I have been working with a sizeable nuclear employer, NNL, supported them in bringing new approaches to attracting talent into the nuclear industry.

I take my hat off to NNL for taking the chance to work with us to try new approaches that other companies would be too nervous even to consider.

People get a little scared of what they don’t understand, and Social media with a live broadcast into schools and colleges tick that box

However, I’ll use one example of an Electrical Apprentice in Preston in which NNL can only take on a single graduate. We expect to engage with 10,000+ young people and receive over 500 applications for this vacancy.

For one apprenticeship!

Now, fair play to NNL, they can only offer one apprenticeship, but they will be using the applications for other roles within the business, so I’m hoping there will be multiple hires from the campaign.

What’s The Point?

The above numbers only consider one role. According to a House of Commons Briefing Paper, 322,500 apprenticeships started in the UK in 2020. Multiply this number with the figures above, and you are faced with some serious numbers.

The government and employers spend a lot of money during National Apprenticeship Week to promote oversubscribed opportunities that provide a slim chance of landing a job.

So what is the point? 

The Benefits

It took me a while to understand, but some clear benefits are directly attributed to NAW. National Apprenticeship Week is not just about raising awareness of the apprenticeship opportunities for the upcoming year but about celebrating apprentices as a whole and showcasing some of the apprentices’ achievements.

NAW provides the perfect platform to bring to attention job opportunities to young people that would not have been aware of them in the past. Although oversubscribed in general, there are still some postcodes that have typically low application numbers. This is proper social mobility.

With many young people growing up wanting to be Tik-Tok or Instagram stars, NAW provides an opportunity to showcase some of the out-of-fashion careers. Many of the events showcase industries and professions that may not necessarily be attractive to young people at first sight.

Over the last couple of months, the work I have accomplished with NNL has touched on all of these benefits.

  • We facilitated talks in which current apprentices could discuss the application process and a day in the life of an apprentice at NNL
  • We have showcased the range of roles available in nuclear, not just those that involve wearing a lab coat.
  • We have also undertaken targeted marketing of specific areas to bring career opportunities to areas that historically have low applications.

So, is NAW a waste of time? Hell no!


If you want to learn more about the opportunities in nuclear, head on over to our Career Hub.





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