As the UK marks National Apprenticeship Week, Abta’s education manager Vicki Wolf updates travel firms on the latest changes and opportunities

This week is National Apprenticeship Week, offering the opportunity for employers to learn more about the benefits of taking on apprentices and the services that are out there to help you do so. Abta is an Apprenticeship Ambassador, an employer working with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA) to support and promote apprenticeships.

Last Wednesday, Abta held its annual Apprenticeship Seminar in the week leading up to National Apprenticeship Week. As well as celebrating and sharing success stories about apprenticeships in the travel industry, the event looked at more practical information about how to access funding and how to take on an apprentice for the first time.

We also explored apprenticeship opportunities for existing staff in terms of upskilling and degree apprenticeships.

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Our keynote speaker, Helen Gorner, head of service engagement at ESFA, updated the seminar with some key changes that will be happening with the digital apprenticeship service this year which is now available to non-levy paying businesses (those with a pay bill of under £3 million each year).

The ESFA also wants to increase the diversity and quality of apprenticeships. Abta is working closely with the ESFA as part of an intermediary network. The aim is for the ESFA to provide centralised support to help employers have better access to information on apprenticeships.

One issue that Abta members have identified over the years is the difficulty that mainly rural areas have in accessing a training provider. By creating a cohort of apprentices this could make it more viable for training providers to deliver apprenticeships in outlying areas and the Abta regional Facebook pages can be a very useful resource in this regard.

If you are in a particular region and struggling to find a provider, it makes sense to try to link up with other members in your region who also want to offer an apprenticeship.

The ESFA has several useful videos and webinars on their YouTube Channel. You can also follow them on Twitter @ESFAdigital.

Information about apprenticeships and provider partners are available on the education area of the Abta website.