Wiltshire Council, through the Employment and Skills Team, have been active members of the South West Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (SWAAN)  for several years and were delighted to receive a Gold Service Award for their dedication to apprenticeships and the regional network. 

 The award recognises the engagement of the team at a very high level with SWAAN activities and initiatives, and their commitment to championing apprenticeships across Swindon and Wiltshire and the south-west. 

 The Apprenticeship Ambassador Network has a clear vision to inspire and influence people to choose apprenticeships as a route to create business and individual success. The AAN is a free to join movement of likeminded employers who champion apprenticeships, to raise awareness and increase engagement to meet the needs of employers, communities, and individuals through a series of events, webinars, 1:1 support, and social media posts.  

 Ambassadors are invited to complete a quarterly report to share insights, good news, and challenges regarding apprenticeships, be this at employer or local authority level. This is collated anonymously as a region and shared with the Education and Skills Funding Agency – ultimately shaping the resources, funding and support delivered by government.  

 The AAN has four key pillars to its national strategy, which closely mirror the work of the Employment and Skills Team through its Work Wiltshire website: celebrating, storytelling, signposting and sharing insights. In addition, priorities for 2021_22 include  

  • connecting more SMEs with apprenticeships 
  • encouraging progression across industry sectors and levels offered by apprenticeships and the varying entry routes 
  • ensuring a high-quality apprenticeship experience 
  • amplifying messages around the importance of apprenticeship completions   

 During the last year, the team have worked hard to engage with audiences about the benefits of apprenticeships, whilst encouraging employers to access the funding and incentives on offer through the Plan for Jobs. They have also shared good news, apprentice stories and employment opportunities of local employers, this has seen an increase in local SWAAN membership which now includes the likes of the National Trust, RSM Accounting, Knorr Bremse, Voluntary Action Swindon, Wincanton and Longleat to name a few. 

 The AAN also provides schools and colleges with access to a network of current and former apprentices who can share their apprenticeship journey with current students in the hope that they will be inspired to think more widely about career choices and pathways beyond education. 

 The Employment and Skills Team have been championing apprenticeships for many years, for individuals of all ages and stages in their careers, and welcome employers and individuals alike to visit their website or make contact to learn more about how to make an apprenticeships work for you https://workwiltshire.co.uk/apprenticeships/ . 

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