Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, today joined with The Skills Funding Agency and The Department of Education to reaffirm its commitment to supporting diversity within apprenticeships with the launch of the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network (DCN).
The Skills Funding Agency, a government body, working in conjunction with the Department of Education, aims to increase the proportion of apprentices from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds by 20% by 2020. The Diversity Champions Network is the coming together of 23 organisations to embody and drive this target forward.
The network is dedicated to raising the profile of apprenticeships within communities, while vigorously challenging persistent stereotypes by widening access and boosting inclusive behaviour in skills training and apprenticeships.
Balfour Beatty is a prominent member of The 5% Club, an employer-led movement which champions investment in the next generation through workplace training, and has recently partnered with the Young Women’s Trust to further support its incentive of addressing the industry’s skills shortage and increasing diversity within its workforce.
Stephen Tarr, Managing Director Balfour Beatty’s Major Projects business, said: “The Diversity Champions Network is taking the first steps in promoting not only the benefit of apprenticeships, but also providing businesses with the tools they need to engage and inspire employers and communities to make apprenticeships more diverse.
“As a founding member of The 5% Club, we’re committed to increasing the number of apprenticeships available within the industry whilst at the same time also encouraging a more diverse and representative workforce.”
Supporting the cause, Robert Halfon, Skills and Apprenticeships Minister, said: “I am passionate about ensuring that everyone, no matter their background or age, can use apprenticeships to get on the ladder of opportunity to a successful career.
“Although last year saw record numbers of people with a disability or from disadvantaged backgrounds start on a high quality apprenticeship we need to do much more. That is why it is vital that so many diverse employers have come together to pledge to do more to ensure apprenticeships are truly open to everyone.
“I am also extremely pleased that we are announcing Nus Ghani as the Chair – with her knowledge, commitment and expertise, I am sure she will do a brilliant job in making sure apprenticeships can work for as many people as possible.”
All non-media related enquiries should be directed to +44 (0)20 7216 6800 or email@example.com
Notes to editors:
• Balfour Beatty (www.balfourbeatty.com) is a leading international infrastructure group. With 34,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.
• Our main geographies are the UK, US, Middle East and South East Asia. Over the last 100 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the world’s biggest shopping mall in Dubai, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
• Balfour Beatty offers a wide variety of opportunities within the Apprenticeship Scheme ranging from intermediate, to advanced, to higher level qualifications. These are suitable for schools leavers and post-A-level students who want to learn and earn on a structured training scheme and gain a nationally recognised qualification. Apprentices have the opportunity to continue their studies to gain a Foundation or Honours Degree while on the scheme at Balfour Beatty. Currently, Balfour Beatty employs 270 Apprentices across the UK and recruits around 150 additional Apprentices each year. Balfour Beatty is a member of ‘The 5% Club’, a UK industry-led initiative focused on creating momentum behind the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce. Chief Executive Leo Quinn was the founding member of the 5% Club. Balfour Beatty joined in December 2013, the first company in the infrastructure industry to join.
• The 5% Club works with UK employers and key influencers to inspire, educate and retain a growing body of people into “earn and learn” placements in order to increase the number of apprentices, sponsored students and graduates. The goal of The 5% Club is to increase the employment and career prospects of today’s youth and equip the UK with the skilled workforce it needs to safeguard Britain’s economy.