PTP is one of the finalists in the ‘Best Marketing Campaign’ category of the Express and Star Awards 2023, which seeks to find the very best companies, entrepreneurs, products and services in the region.
Rob Colbourne OBE, chief executive of PTP, which is part of the BCTG Group, explained that the company’s entry was focused on the Ladder campaign.
He told how the Ladder markets the apprenticeship brand to individuals, employers and communities and has resulted in thousands of new starts and legacy projects.
Mr Colbourne said: “The Ladder for the Black Country began in 2014 as a campaign that showcased the apprenticeship brand through key partners such as the Express & Star, the Chamber of Commerce, provider networks, four local councils and key employers such as AF Blakemore and Ikea.
“The success of the project over the following eight years has been remarkable, expanding into Shropshire, Staffordshire, Greater Birmingham and most recently Coventry and Warwickshire.
“The campaign has resulted in more than £1 million worth of free editorial, publicity that has helped to create more than 5,000 Ladder apprenticeship starts.
“Other results have been legacy projects such as a multi-million-pound, new build Ladder school in Walsall and apprenticeship hubs in Shropshire and Staffordshire.
“We have also seen the launch of a ‘have a go’ skills academy in Birmingham, working with over 200 schools to allow students to try tasks out in sector specific pods.
“These have ranged from a dentist practice to a childcare setting, and have included hospitality venues, retail units and engineering environments, allowing people to ‘have a go’ before they commit to a job role or apprenticeship.
“The Ladder has also run four apprenticeship awards in Birmingham attracting more than a thousand attendees, with 20,000 views on the virtual awards held during lockdown, and our first Black Country Ladder Awards in Wolverhampton in 2022.
“In 2023, we have launched phase 2 Ladders in Staffordshire and the Black Country, and a phase 4 Ladder in Greater Birmingham with the aim of attracting a total of 10,000 Ladder apprenticeship starts since its creation.
“We have also invested in Ladder websites, created Ladder media platforms, have been on BBC Midlands today and have both attended and organised hundreds of career and apprenticeship job fairs to match individuals to employer vacancies.”
Mr Colbourne sent on to explain how the success of the Ladder has attracted Robert Halfon, the current skills minister, as its patron, with West Midlands elected mayor Andy Street an enthusiastic supporter, attending awards or supplying video messages when unavailable.
He said the Ladder has also developed a parents’ guide to apprenticeships and a support programme for apprentices who lost their jobs through the pandemic or if they leave their employer, supporting them to find alternative employment through Ladder partners.
Mr Colbourne added: “HS2, one of our Ladder Partners, supported us with a jobs fair in February 2023, involving 12 of their suppliers showcasing apprenticeship jobs they currently have available.
“We have taken Ladder partners and their apprentices to Buckingham Palace, St James Palace and Parliament, which was not only inspirational for them, but also for their families.
“In 2023, the Ladder will expand its school engagement to ensure appropriate and unbiased information advice and guidance takes place with all students.
“We will also be launching a ‘Gold Star’ programme where employers will commit to paying their apprentices at least the living wage.
“The 2023 year will see two more apprenticeship awards in the Black Country and Birmingham, we will support an apprenticeship graduation in Staffordshire.
“We will also continue to supply Ladder good news stories to our media partners to be shared on their newspapers and media platforms, and we will be exploring further skills academies to develop in the Black Country and Staffordshire.”