The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has officially joined The 5% Club youth skills and employment campaign, putting its weight behind the youth skills agenda.
Joining this industry-led initiative during National Apprenticeship Week, the MoD has committed to the aim of ensuring that 5 per cent of its UK workforce are apprentices, graduates or sponsored students on structured programmes within the next five years. The MoD is the largest employer of apprentices in the UK, currently responsible for 19,000 apprentices.
The 5% Club charter was signed by Philip Dunne, Minster for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon MP, at an event held at RAF Benson, the MoD’s frontline support helicopter base in Oxfordshire.
The MoD’s civilian branch and the three armed services - the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force - are included as members and committed to addressing youth unemployment and skills shortage. As part of the charter, the MoD will also encourage other businesses to partake in the campaign.
“The MOD, as a whole, is the largest apprenticeship user and provider in the UK and 95 per cent of Armed Forces basic training has apprenticeship accreditation,” Dunne said. “Apprenticeships provide structured training and achievement that benefits both employers and employees, which is why we provide them for so many roles, from engineering to policing. Committing to the 5% Club makes perfect sense and whilst we already exceed the 5% target, we are proud to support a good idea that resonates with our values, practices and wider government policy.”
The MoD consists of more than 67,000 civilian staff and 168,000 armed services personnel. It forecasts that it will have 13,273 new recruits by the end of the 2014/15 financial year and 12,000 recruits will start on basic apprenticeships, a number of which will eventually complete advanced apprenticeships at foundation degree level.
Founded by QinetiQ and launched in October 2013, the 5% Club consists of public and private companies and organisations in the UK supporting the UK’s ability to compete in increasingly challenging global markets. More than sixty companies with over 150,000 member employees have committed to the Club. Other members include Babcock, Airbus UK, MBDA, Balfour Beatty, KPMG, Vision Express and the National Physical Laboratory.
Dr Sam Healy, Group Director for Corporate Responsibility at QinetiQ and programme director of The 5% Club, said, “The MoD’s existing efforts and experience in recruiting young people is greatly welcomed and we are extremely pleased to have the organisation join the initiative as it marks the importance of the cause. The MoD signing up to the campaign is a significant moment in its growth and will hopefully light the path for many other organisations to follow suit in investing in the next generation.”
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