I'm delighted to announce that I have been appointed chair of the government's Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network.
In this role, I will be responsible for shaping objectives for the 88 companies which form the network alongside the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Working with these brilliant employers will go a long way to ensure that apprenticeships are open and accessable to all.
The Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network was founded during National Apprenticeship Week 2017 and functions to promote apprenticeships and diversity within employers and encourages those from marginalised backgrounds to consider pursuing apprenticeships. These include those with disabilities, women and members of the black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) communities.
FE week found last October that that the proportion of BAME 16 to 18 year old apprenticeships made up just 7.7% of starts in the first three quarters of 2019/2020.
Apprenticeships and skills minister Gillian Keegan announced my appointment at a meeting of the network earlier this week. She says that the government "wants to make sure everyone, no matter where they live or their experience, can gain the skills they need to get ahead."
Having worked as a further education lecturer for 20 years, I will be bringing a wealth of experiencing to this new and exciting role which will make sure young people across the country can see the benefits that apprenticeships can offer them.