‘Why There’s Never Been a Better Time to Get Involved With Apprenticeships’

The launch of the Government’s new Get In Go Far advertising campaign for apprenticeships is a very welcome initiative, for both professional and personal reasons.

Growing the numbers of apprenticeships in this country is an issue close to my heart. I remember when hiring staff in my own business, the most important thing I looked for on a CV was experience, not just paper qualifications. Being able to see the knowledge and expertise a young person has gained from learning on the job can really help a business find the right candidate for the role.

It’s why I was honoured to be appointed the Apprenticeship Adviser for David Cameron as well as co-chair of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board last year. The Get In Go Far campaign will be key to helping raise awareness of the value of apprenticeships; inspire more young people to consider it as a valid, credible route to getting a great career, and encourage more businesses to hire apprentices.


Get In. Go Far

Get In. Go Far


Being an apprentice has never been more exciting! An opportunity to EARN & LEARN at the same time. To work alongside an experienced mentor showing you the ropes whilst gaining insightful knowledge!

Creating 3 million apprenticeships is at the heart of the Government’s commitment to ensure young people have the skills that employers are crying out for. Apprenticeships will give young people real, hands-on experience that can help change lives, reduce long-term youth unemployment and help our economy thrive.

Get In. Go Far, is a new government campaign that will launch shortly which is designed to inspire young people to consider apprenticeships as a valid and credible route to a rewarding career. Its aim is to inform and inspire young people, parents, teachers and employers about the range of opportunities available with apprenticeships and the quality of the employers who offer them.

Help us and the government in raising awareness to reach all 16-23 year olds in England, as well as their parents, teachers, and mentors!


View Available Apprenticeships To You

‘Apprentices Have a Great Deal to Offer the UK’s 5.4 Million Small Businesses’

Apprenticeships have enjoyed a fair share of the limelight so far this year. Not only did March’s National Apprenticeship Week take place soon after the increase in the apprentice wage rate and forthcoming introduction of the apprenticeship levy, but also in the wake of the Government announcing its aim to fund some three million new apprenticeships by 2020, which the levy will help to fund. There’s been a positive start on that front, with participation in apprenticeship schemes up to a record 871,000 during the 2014/15 tax year.

But if apprenticeships are going to hit such heady heights in the future, they are undoubtedly going to need the support of small and medium-sized enterprises, who make up well in excess of 99% of all UK businesses. Many of those companies are already realising the benefits of having apprentices on board, with our latest research showing that two in five (39%) of those SMEs with at least ten employees in place took on at least one new apprentice in the past twelve months. That figure falls, however, to just one in ten (10%) of companies that have less than ten employees, demonstrating how those smallest businesses may have greater time and resource constraints when it comes to introducing an effective apprenticeship scheme.


‘Use it or lose it : Employers will have 18 months to spend apprenticeship levy payments’

The government has today announced the employer time limit on using their levy funds, due for introduction in April 2017.

The news came in an updated guide to the apprenticeship levy and “how it will work” web page, published this afternoon.

An apprenticeship levy operating guide for employers, to be published in April, had been promised in last month’s budget.

The latest version of the guidance stated: “Funds will expire 18 months after they enter your digital account unless you spend them on apprenticeship training,”.

It continued: “Whenever a payment is taken from your digital account it will automatically use the funds that entered your account first. This will minimise the amount of expired funds.”

The apprenticeship levy, first announced by the government in July, is set at 0.5 per cent of an employer’s paybill.


A Master’s level qualification, in five years, with no student debt? It’s worth considering an apprenticeship

Last year, education foundation, the Sutton Trust, published some encouraging statistics.

According to researchers, the best apprentices – those with a level 5 qualification – could earn £50,000 more in their lifetime than someone with an undergraduate degree from a university outside of the Russell Group.

For those who were still holding onto the belief that university was the only route to a rewarding career, the report was just the latest piece of evidence pointing to the contrary.

Over the last two years, there have been an estimated 30,000 higher apprenticeships created with more predicted thanks to the Government’s focus on creating three million apprenticeships by 2020.

Whether you agree with this goal – and, as I have written previously, many do not – or with the methods being used to obtain it, it’s certainly positive that young people are being increasingly offered viable alternatives to higher education.


‘Unspent levy money will be used to maintain SME apprenticeship funding’

The government has sought to re-assure small and medium-sized employers (SMEs) there will be enough apprenticeship levy money left over for them.

Skills Minister Nick Boles has re-emphasised plans to make SMEs rely on unspent apprenticeship levy funds from larger companies to pay for their training.

Mr Boles told the House of Commons this afternoon that the £2.5bn raised by the levy for training in England would be expected to stretch to cover all employers with apprentices, regardless of their size.

The apprenticeship levy will only be paid by employers with a payroll of more than £3m, which has led to questions over whether smaller companies which aren’t contributing to the levy pot will continue to receive the funding they currently get from government.

But Mr Boles told Parliament today that he expected SMEs to “carry on spending money on apprenticeships, receiving government money for apprenticeships” in the same way that they do now, funded by levy proceeds not used by larger organisations.

Read more here…

Government’s ‘ambitious’ apprenticeships target to be questioned

An inquiry has been launched into the Government’s target of three million apprentices by 2020 following “uncertainty” over how the system will work.

An inquiry has been launched into the “ambitious” apprenticeships target, following concerns about how the Government intends to achieve its aims.

The creation of three million apprenticeships by 2020 was one of the Conservative Party’s key pledges during the election campaign last year, however, critics have said that standards could be affected in the drive to achieve these high numbers.

Now, a sub-committee has launched an inquiry into the apprenticeship system, which will look at how the Government proposes to achieve this target and how it may affect industries with a skills shortage.

The group will also look at how standards in the apprenticeship system can be maintained and enforced and will also consider the proposals for the new apprenticeships levy first reported in the summer Budget.

Read more here..

New law will end ‘outdated snobbery’ towards apprenticeships

Schools must allow access to apprenticeship providers and colleges to create a level playing field in careers guidance.

Schools must give equal airtime to the non-academic routes pupils can take post-16, under government plans to end the ‘second class’ perception of technical and professional education (TPE).

A new law would see apprenticeship providers and staff from colleges visit schools as part of careers advice from early secondary school, to talk to pupils about the opportunities open to them through apprenticeships or other TPE routes.

The move follows concerns from ministers about careers advice, with some schools currently unwilling to recommend apprenticeships or other technical and professional routes to any but the lowest-achieving pupils – effectively creating a 2-tiered system of careers advice.

This builds on the Prime Minister’s life chances speech in which he set out his ambitions to create an education system fit for the 21st century.

Read more here…

Southampton Apprentice Graduation Awards Ceremony

CV Guide – Hope it helps!

A CV plays an important role in getting you an interview. At Youthforce we believe in the huge potential young people can bring to the workplace but frequently see CVs that block people going forwards. Our guide below brings together our experience of where it can go wrong for people. This could help you whether you’re working to create your first CV or tidying up an old one that has been filed away on your hard-drive.

First impressions count

Don’t let the small mistakes give someone the chance to overlook your application. Before you even consider what to write in you CV, think about these tiny details that are easy to change:

  • Is your email appropriate?

If your personal email is too informal, employers could look throw your application out even before opening your CV.  If your email is ‘lilybabeoxo@******.com’ or even less obvious, ‘footballstar66@*******.***’ you need to create a new email address for your applications that is more formal.

  • File name – Naming your file ‘mycv’ or ‘richs cv’ says something about you. It sounds fussy but full name & date is recommended. This makes you look professional and organised.
  • Attachment – again, very common mistake. Try your very best to save and send your CV as a Word file not as an obscure file that no-one can open. You need to create the least fuss for any recruiter. Also, NEVER just copy and paste your CV text into an email – you’d be surprised how often this happens!

Presentation and overall look

Once your CV has been opened the first thing we’re look at is the layout. Is everything lined up neatly? Is it all in the same format? Does it look smart and presentable? Is this person showing us they have a high standard of presentation?  Make sure you think about the following:


  • Use a standard type font – Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman are standard fonts to use.
  • Neat presentation – make sure everything is lined up and all text is the same size.
  • Keep it short – don’t make it longer than 2 pages. We want to see your headlines, not the full story.
  • Spelling & Grammar – make sure this is perfect. Mistakes show a lack of care and attention to detail – no excuses for this!

And now for the don’t do’s…

  • Don’t use fancy graphics – keep it simple. Text only.
  • Don’t add a photo of yourself – it’s not the place for it. Keep that for Facebook.
  • Don’t write ‘CV’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae at the top – we know what it is.
  • Don’t forget to get someone to check it over!

Structure – get it right

Get things in the right order. There are variations, however I would suggest the following format:

  1. Personal information – name, address, email, phone, mobile – don’t add date of birth, gender – this isn’t relevant and can sway people from making a fair decision about you.
  2. Personal statement – 3 or 4 sentences that introduces yourself. Make it punchy, genuine and interesting to read. Avoid using words for the sake of it likepro-active” or “hard-working” – show you’re these things by putting effort into the CV rather than just stating it.
  3. Experience – listed in reverse chronological order (most recent first) Include dates, job title and a brief explanation of your role.
  4. Education – Again, most recent first. Include predicted grades if you are awaiting results – this helps form a picture of you. Don’t list all your GCSE’s (unless this is all you have) ‘9 GCSE’s Grades A-C’ is fine.
  5. Achievements – think carefully about the positions you’re going for. What achievements are you proud of that would sell you as an asset for that company. Are you a leader? Did you captain sports teams? Have you won a prize related to creativity – writing award for example. The list is endless – tailor your achievements to the position and this is your chance to brag. Don’t hold back!
  6. Interests – this is optional, but I like to know the person behind the experience and education. Think about what interests you. Music, art, sports etc. but make it interesting. This section adds a bit of ‘flavour’ to your application. ‘Socialising’ isn’t an interest in my book. Don’t joke around here either.
  7. References –DON’T list references – you just need these words ‘References Available on Request’

Other final reminders

Your CV should be something that you’re never quite happy with. You should be looking to improve it with every version. Think of it like a software on your phone that always needs updating.


  • Always ask for feedback from employers. Ask them how your CV could be improved.
  • Be yourself – be clear about who you are. Don’t try and sell yourself as something you’re not.
  • Find someone you trust to check it over before you send it. My Dad still helps me and I’m 38!
  • Pay the same attention to online applications as you would if you were sending a CV via email. Make sure that the person who sees your application is going to be impressed.


  • Don’t lie.
  • Don’t write too much. Make things clear and concise.
  • Avoid buzz words.
  • Don’t joke – whilst you might think it a shame people can’t have a laugh, your CV isn’t the place to test people’s sense of humour.

Remember, people are looking for reasons not to put you forward. Remember these simple rules and your chances of getting to an interview will raise considerably.

Good luck and happy job hunting!