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National Apprenticeship Week 2023 – Skills for Life

National Apprenticeship Week 2023 – Skills for Life
06 February 2023

BESA is marking National Apprenticeship Week 2023 by encouraging employers to pledge to take on at least one new apprentice this year.

Recent government research found that 86 per cent of employers who took on at least one apprentice believe it helped them develop the skills most relevant to their organisation. 78 per cent said their apprentices helped them improve productivity, and 74 per cent stated they had improved the quality of their product or service.

BESA, which represents the building services industry, believes apprenticeships are the best way to equip the building engineering workforce with the modern skills needed to be “fit for the future” and meet growing demand in areas such as indoor air quality, decarbonisation of heating, and renewables.


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2023 Theme – Skills For Life


The theme of NAW2023 is “skills for life”, celebrating the benefits that apprenticeships present and giving everyone involved in apprenticeships a chance to raise awareness, understanding and excitement around the opportunities on offer.

The building services industry must urgently address problems created by its rapidly ageing workforce with a high proportion of employees already over 60 and nearing retirement plus a sharp drop in the number of workers under 30. BESA’s “Future Skills” pledge is a way for building services employers to show their commitment to bringing new talent into the sector, grow the skills of existing workers through apprenticeships and make sure they have a workforce that can meet future challenges.

“We urgently need to replace lost skills and start to rebuild the thinning ranks of the youngest and brightest in our industry – and the best and most business-friendly way to do that is by taking on apprentices,” said BESA’s Director of Training and Skills Helen Yeulet.

“Starting the process early by investing in emerging talent is the best way to ensure you have the right balance of skills to meet future challenges,” she added. “This works well for the apprentice, who is gaining valuable experience and earning while they learn, and for the employer who is training up someone who can quickly contribute to the financial growth of the business.”

BESA is also hosting a series of employer-focused webinars during NAW2023 exploring the importance of apprenticeships and designed to help employers develop a workforce that is fit for the future.


Gaining Skills for Life and Changing the Face of an Industry With Specialist Security Apprenticeships


A landmark apprenticeship programme pioneered in Scotland is aiming to equip a generation of young people with skills for life, change perceptions of an industry and help it to overcome recruitment challenges. 

The British Security Industry Association (BSIA), its training subsidiary Skills for Security and members like SecuriGroup Limited have launched the UK’s first apprenticeship for front-line security personnel. Their aim is to tackle the outdated image of security and recruit younger people to the industry.

The UK is facing an acute shortage of security officers. An increased demand for security services, an ageing workforce, Brexit and fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic means around 62,000 new security officers are needed to meet demand and ensure public safety.

The landmark Security Officers Services Apprenticeship (Level 5 SVQ Apprenticeship in Providing Security Officer Services) was launched in Scotland in 2021 and has recently seen its first cohort complete the programme. It is a funded 12-month course that equips security personnel with the training, skills and expertise needed to be a modern, professional security officer. Areas of focus and learning include Fire Safety, Mental Health Awareness, Conflict Management, Counter Terrorism and Safeguarding.

Twenty five year old Marcia Mackay, now SIA-licensed Security Officer with SecuriGroup is one of the first students to have completed the Security Officers Services Apprenticeship. Having gained the skills to tackle the latest security threats, she is now calling for other young people to consider a career in the industry.



Picture: a photograph of Marcia Mackay standing in front of branded roller banners. She is holding her apprenticeship certificates. Image Credit: SecuriGroup


New Generation of Professionals Will be Crucial to a Net-Zero Future, says Baxi MD


As National Apprenticeship Week begins, a heating and hot water company is highlighting the progress that must be made to encourage more young people into the industry.

With government mandates for greenhouse gas emission reduction looming, concern around the lack of new talent entering the heating engineering and manufacturing sector, and preventing net-zero progress, is mounting.

Creating an appealing and accessible pathway into engineering for the next generation of heating professionals will be key to ensuring the gap is closed. Apprenticeships, either with manufacturers or through the network of heating engineers in the UK, will be critical.

Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Baxi UK and Ireland, explained: “We know that low carbon technologies like heat pumps, heat networks, hybrid systems and hydrogen appliances will all be needed to decarbonise heat in the UK. Yet what happens if there is no one to research, develop, manufacture and, crucially, install and maintain the systems into the future?

“Our current population of heating engineers is said to have an average age of over 50, so it’s clear that a younger talent pool is needed to sustain the industry’s future and keep up with customer demand. Apprenticeships with attractive wages and opportunities to develop into a long, rewarding career in such a dynamic sector need to be highlighted to school leavers. Beyond that there must be support for taking on apprentices for installers across the UK to give the engineering students the hands-on experience they need to qualify.”

To play its part in equipping the next generation with skills, Baxi currently employs 37 apprentices across different parts of its business. It has also provided support for Baxi Approved Installers to take on apprentices and continues to partner with colleagues across the UK to support budding installers.


“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for people to learn new skills, launch their careers, or reskill if they are seeking a fresh challenge. We encourage other organisations to follow suit and use their apprenticeship levy gifting to help maintain a sustainable talent pipeline that will allow businesses and communities to grow and thrive.”

–Sue Davison

Head of Apprenticeships – Sodexo


Sodexo Hits £2 Million Milestone for Apprenticeship Levy Gifting


Sodexo has now gifted £2 million of its apprenticeship levy to support a number of small companies and not-for-profit organisations across the UK.

Sodexo took the decision in 2019 to "gift with purpose" a portion of the apprenticeship levy it pays. In August 2021, the food services and facilities management business announced it had gifted more than £1 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for apprenticeship training. This has included trainee paramedics for the London Ambulance Service as well as health and support staff for local community organisations and sports clubs in Salford, Worcester and Bath.

Over the last eighteen months since hitting the £1 million milestone, Sodexo has doubled that figure and committed apprentice levy gifting funds to several other organisations, including almost 60 sports coaching staff for Aspire Training Solutions (UK) Ltd, enabling them to continue to provide a valuable resource to schools, local community organisations and sports clubs. Another beneficiary is McGinley – the levy gifting funding from Sodexo has enabled the infrastructure expert to take on 18 trainee rail operatives.

The £2 million milestone includes Sodexo pledging £100,000 to eligible businesses through the government’s apprentice levy portal.

Sue Davison, Head of Apprenticeships at Sodexo, said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for people to learn new skills, launch their careers, or reskill if they are seeking a fresh challenge. We encourage other organisations to follow suit and use their apprenticeship levy gifting to help maintain a sustainable talent pipeline that will allow businesses and communities to grow and thrive.”

This week, National Apprenticeship Week, Sodexo and its teams across the country are celebrating and recognising their 900 apprentices, reflecting on how apprenticeships are helping individuals develop valuable skills and knowledge to create a successful and rewarding career and the contribution they offer companies such as Sodexo which relies on its people to deliver excellence, every day.

Picture: a photograph of a young person smiling. Image Credit: Sodexo

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 06 February 2023


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