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News7th February 2020

National Apprenticeship Week: Why Ark is launching the Access to Apprenticeships programme

This week is National Apprenticeship Week.

Central to Ark’s mission is ensuring that all young people, regardless of their background, can access a career of their choice.

Making sure students have the knowledge and skills they need to select, secure and succeed in a variety of pathways – including apprenticeships – once they have left school is therefore central to us achieving this mission.

Gaining real work experience and developing skills on the job, whilst receiving a salary and gaining a qualification, means that apprenticeships are becoming a desirable “earn while you learn” option for school leavers. For many young people, this hands-on experience is the best way of learning and developing personally. With the increasing number of Higher and Degree apprenticeships, they are a credible alternative to university and securing a place is highly competitive. Therefore, this year Ark has launched its Access to Apprenticeships programme. The Access to Apprenticeships programme supports Ark students to make successful applications to some of the UK’s top apprenticeship schemes.

Created in collaboration with Bloomberg, Capgemini and British Airways the programme guides sixth form students who are interested in pursuing apprenticeships through each stage of the apprenticeship application process.

The programme began in November with the Ark Apprenticeships Expo, bringing together over 120 students from across the Ark network to take part in a series of workshops with 15 of the UK’s top 100 apprenticeship providers. Students interested in pursuing the apprenticeship route then had the opportunity to apply for a series of apprenticeship application workshops at Bloomberg, Capgemini or British Airways.

These workshops are providing students with valuable insights into the application process. Last week at the Bloomberg workshop, students took part in a CV writing masterclass, learning how to showcase their skillsets on their CVs. At the Capgemini workshops students have been signing up for one-on-one mock interviews, which will be delivered by Capgemini staff volunteers. During February half-term, students taking part in the British Airways programme will have the opportunity to spend a day in the British Airways office, meeting current apprentices as well as the apprenticeship assessment design team. Such activities are all designed to ensure that students can make successful applications, securing themselves a place on one of the most competitive apprenticeship schemes.

We will continue to share stories from Ark alumni who are now undertaking apprenticeships, as well as some of the partners supporting Access to Apprenticeships about how they think this programme is impacting our students. To find out more about the Access to Apprenticeships programme, visit our website.

Ark is working strategically with a range of partners to increase the number of students accessing high quality apprenticeships with companies such as Bloomberg, Capgemini, British Airways and Sky and many more. If you are interested in working with us to promote your apprenticeship offer please get in touch with Emma Thomson, Partnerships Manager on

Access to Apprenticeships is one of a series of programmes centrally organised by Ark to ensure all students, regardless of their background, can access a career of their choice. We know that this is too often more challenging for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our centrally run programmes bridge this gap to ensure students have the support needed to select, secure and succeed in their future pathways. More information about other programmes in this area can be found here.