ADVERTORIAL: University isn’t the only path to success

The decision to continue further education towards a successful career can be incredibly daunting – with no right or wrong direction it is often hard to find the route that suits you.

This is where the West Midlands Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (WMAAN) comes in to support.

Influencing a wide range of key stakeholders including schools, colleges and employment bodies, the network raises awareness of apprenticeships, shifting the topic of conversation from a ‘second option’ to an equal future career choice.

Helping young people become more aware of apprenticeships through career events, parents’ evenings and work placements, the network consists of a group of employers whose main aim is to engage businesses in apprenticeship delivery and spread the word to potential apprentices through its ambassadors.

As a trusted part of the UK Government’s Education Skills Funding Agency, it has 80 ambassadors in the West Midlands alone and 20 partner companies including JCB, SevernTrent, and Network Rail.

Craig Watson, a West Midlands apprenticeship ambassador said: “We’d like to continue the directory that there is a direct choice for people to either choose between university and an apprenticeship, that they are seen as being equal in terms of career progression and opportunity.

“The quality of the programmes give a great chance to continue the conversation of apprenticeship accessibility. Going forward, the careers provision at schools need to feature apprenticeships, and that’s where we come in.

The network want to spread the word on the benefits of apprenticeships for all ages (Image: Apprenticeship Ambassador Network)

“In five years time I’d like to see more people take up the apprenticeship route because that is the way they want to learn rather than forced down the university route.”

The number of apprenticeship starts has been boosted, and the comparison of going to university versus an apprenticeship is balancing out, with more people seeing it as an equal career choice.

Working with career hubs and engagements, the network is an advocate for promoting apprenticeships at any age, whether you have just left college or are a working professional looking to broaden your skills.

The network’s apprenticeship ambassadors are involved in tackling the skills gap, increasing employer engagement and hosting promotional events.

The ambassadors help create the essential ‘buzz’ surrounding future career opportunities whilst continuing to support agencies and trade associations as mentors.

Employers are invited to join the network if they demonstrate high commitments to apprenticeships within its workforce or have a high profile in the area.

To find out more about the network in the West Midlands contact chair Anita Davenport-Brooks, [email protected] If you are passionate about bridging the skills gap, you can get involved as an apprenticeship ambassador, demonstrating the many benefits and opportunities for both trainees and employees. For more information click here.
Harriet Morphy-MorrisCommercial Audience Writer