Ladder apprentice achievements honoured at Parliament 10-year celebration

Mar 8, 2024 | News

Kevin Davis, back centre, with the Ladder Champions and 2024 Birmingham winners
The impact of the Ladder apprenticeship campaigns in helping 10,000 people secure work and upskill over the last 10 years was marked with a high profile celebration event at the Houses of Parliament.

Guests gathered in London on Tuesday to commemorate the Ladder’s progress in boosting employment and social mobility through the apprenticeship brand with guest of honour and Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon MP, patron of the Ladder Foundation, which coordinates the West Midlands apprenticeship campaigns.

The event, sponsored by University College Birmingham, saw seven award winning apprentices inducted as ‘Ladder Apprenticeship Champions’ in recognition of their achievements. Three apprentices from the Greater Birmingham region were honoured with the latest Ladder awards.

The Ladder drive was launched in 2014 to tackle unemployment and improve skill levels by getting employers, training providers and individuals looking for work opportunities to engage with apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships offer skills-focussed opportunities to develop individuals within a workplace setting, in line with the ambitions of the business and learner.

Building on the first campaign in London, leading figures from education, employment training, business and the media established the Ladder for the Black Country, followed by counterparts for Shropshire, Staffordshire, Greater Birmingham and Coventry and Warwickshire.

As well as forging partnerships between businesses, the public sector and training providers, it has spun off into the establishment of alternative provision school, The Ladder School, which opened in Walsall in 2019 through the Mercian Trust.

Campaign success

At the event, Robert Halfon MP, a long time supporter of the Ladder campaign and the patron of the Ladder Foundation, said seeing the campaign progress had been “a dream come true”.

He told the guests: “It is a miracle what you have achieved and I am proud to be your patron and supporter.”

Mr Halfon called for a Ladder Foundation for England to be established for the nation to build on the progress to date, which has seen 10,000 people progress through the apprenticeship brand.

He said: “You embody everything that is great about skills and training. England needs you. Would-be apprentices need you. I look forward to extending the Ladder opportunity to everyone.”

Apprenticeship champions were recognised during an award ceremony, along with the latest apprentice of the year winners and finalists for Birmingham.

Jose Lopes, Pro Vice-Chancellor (External Affairs) at University College Birmingham, said: “It gives me great pleasure to recognise the champions we have and to encourage more schools, partners and employers to engage in apprenticeships.”

Work congratulated

Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership has been a long term supporter of the Ladder for Greater Birmingham, including funding the Ladder Skills Academy “have a go” centre in Aston.

Chief executive Henriette Breukelaar said: “Creating 5000 apprenticeships in the last five years or so in Greater Birmingham and Solihull is a fantastic achievement for the Ladder so congratulations on your work.”

Kevin Davis, Chairman of the Ladder Foundation, said: “We are grateful to everyone who attended an event which marks the efforts of hundreds of people to work together to change 10,000 lives for the better.

“We will build on the progress we have made to date to ensure apprenticeships stay front of mind to secure future work opportunities.”

Ladder founder Rob Colbourne said: “Apprenticeships offer a valuable path for employment and skills enhancement so all those who have supported the Ladder to date should be proud of the contribution they have made as we prepare to shape the next phase.”

Johnathan Foot, Head of apprenticeships of Compass UK, which sponsored the event breakfast, said: “Congratulations to the Ladder team on the impact they have made in their first 10 years, making a positive difference by getting people on to the ladder of opportunity.”

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