National Apprenticeship Week is an annual week-long celebration that aims to shine a light on the fantastic work being done by apprentices and employers across England. To help us celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we caught up with Ashley Ringger to hear about her role as Apprenticeships Specialist at Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press. Here she shares the benefits apprenticeships can bring to organisations and how they can help individuals of all ages, work experience and backgrounds.
What kind of apprenticeships are currently being run across Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press?
We currently have a wide variety of apprenticeships on offer. At the moment, there are 242 apprentices enrolled on 19 different standards or programmes, several of which focus on areas of leadership and management, data science, human resources, as well as project management, business administration, publishing and accounting. Many of our apprentices take up courses for upskilling opportunities, but we have entry-level apprentices (external hires who are typically school leavers) as well. We have a strong interest in developing more opportunities for entry-level apprenticeships roles in the future.
…there are 242 apprentices enrolled on 19 different standards or programmes
What do you enjoy about working on apprenticeships and with apprentices?
The joy comes from seeing the growth and development of an individual. Many apprentices express the excitement of taking on an apprenticeship, the challenges of staying on top of assignments, and they all share the elation of completing the qualification and the well-earned pride that comes with that. Being on this learning journey with apprentices and supporting them brings fulfilment and purpose to the work we do around apprenticeships.
Why are apprenticeships so important?
As a programme of the UK government, apprenticeships are an essential part of the country’s educational infrastructure. Intermediate level apprenticeships not only fulfil the government’s goal that all UK residents have at least a Level 3 education, but they can also build a qualified workforce across a variety of business sectors. Advanced and degree level apprenticeships take knowledge and skills a step further with more in-depth training. Additionally, degree level apprenticeships are a cost-effective alternative to university with the exact same degree completed, whilst earning money and on-the-job skills without financial debt.
Advanced and degree level apprenticeships are a cost-effective alternative to university with the exact same degree completed, whilst earning money and on-the-job skills
At Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press, we want our people to grow and develop. Apprenticeships are just one way we do that. We see apprenticeships as important training resources to empower our people to deliver our mission to serve learners, teachers and researchers worldwide. Through entry-level apprenticeships, we maintain a talent pipeline to meet the strategic goals of the organisations while at the same time giving a young person a firm start to their career. Apprenticeships also future-proof our people with the skills needed to increase productivity through continuing professional development and to help maintain a competitive edge. Last year, Cambridge Assessment was ranked 31st on a government of the UK’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers – an honour which demonstrates us not only as a top employer of choice, but also our commitment to education.
Apprenticeships also future-proof our people with the skills needed to increase productivity through continuing professional development
How can apprenticeships positively contribute to organisations?
There are several ways an apprentice can make a positive impact within an organisation. Apprentices actively learn the latest techniques and these ideas and methods are directly brought into the workplace, infusing new life into the way teams work. Entry-level apprentices afford fellow team members opportunities to mentor and train new talent. Having started their career life as an apprentice, entry-level apprentices are often genuine and loyal and can quickly adopt the mission and values of an organisation. Completed apprentices who stay with the organisation are excellent team members with an established all-round knowledge base, who can become integral to future growth and success.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying for an apprenticeship?
I would echo the advice a completed apprentice shared with me: ‘Go for it! An entry-level apprenticeship is a fantastic transition from school to the workplace that I couldn't recommend more. The knowledge, skills and experiences that I have gained and developed will now be key in guiding me through my career.’ I will add that at the same time, one should be well aware of the commitments taking an apprenticeship involves, especially around work-life balance. Ensure that your family, friends, team and line manager are all understanding and supportive of your apprenticeship journey.
What are the organisation’s ambitions for apprenticeships over the next few years?
We know that areas like leadership and management, project management, publishing and data science will remain hallmarks of our apprenticeship programme. As a soon-to-be new, single organisation , we are discovering other areas we can explore and strengthen. Regardless of what the identified areas of growth are, increasing the number of entry-level apprentices and designing pathways of learning from intermediate to degree level apprenticeships are two of our top ambitions.
Ashley Ringger, Apprenticeships Specialist, Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press
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