The 13th annual National Apprenticeship Week will take place from February 3-7 – the latest of these annual, week-long celebrations of apprenticeships across England.

The week highlights employers of all sizes, who have benefited from, or who might benefit from, taking on an apprentice.

In all, there are more than 1,250 events taking place across England and around 1,900 articles will be featured in the national media.

Locally, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire County Council are highlighting apprenticeship success stories from across the County.

A campaign will tell the story of past apprentices, who will describe ‘Where Are They Now?

There will also be events in schools and colleges, where current and former apprentices will tell their story.

The aim is to inspire and enthuse the next generation of apprentices, so that they can also maximise their employment and learning prospects.

At the FSB, we believe that apprenticeships continue to be an effective way of preserving important skills, transferring knowledge and keeping key trades and professions alive and prospering.

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Recruiting an apprentice also makes good business sense, giving businesses a way to find raw talent that then receives government-backed funding for the majority of the training, while, at the same time, developing into the organisation and adding value to the business.

Without question, the future success of the apprenticeship system lies with the nation’s smaller companies – not least because they account for more than 99 per cent of all enterprises in the UK.

Encouragingly, last year the Worcestershire Apprenticeships Hub advised more than 25,000 young people about apprenticeships in visits and activities with local schools.

Last year also marked the highest attended Worcestershire Apprenticeship Show to date.

More than 3,000 people attended to engage with local businesses and training providers.

These numbers are undoubtedly impressive. So, with businesses in the county continuing to report that attracting and retaining talent is one of their main barriers to growth, apprenticeships have an important role in securing business development, growth and success.