John O’Conner Apprentice Meets Prime Minister David Cameron
It is certainly not every day you get to meet the Prime Minister, well back in October Benedict Monck our apprentice from East Herts was given that opportunity. He provided a report on his experience which I would like to share on this blog. It sounds like it was an amazing opportunity please read for yourself.
The Future of Apprenticeships in England: held at BMW Mini Factory, Oxford on October 28,
Report by Benedict Edward Monck, John O’Conner apprentice, East Herts
It isn’t every day, or even very likely, that you get to meet the Prime Minister. On 28 October, at this really fantastic event, I was lucky enough to do that.
The day started with a speech from David Cameron where he spoke about many different aspects of developing apprentices. He appeared to be extremely impressed with the turnout on the day – over 700 apprentices were there.
Mr Cameron gave us his views about unemployment, explaining how it is falling and that we now have more people in work in our country compared to 3 years ago. Speaking about the future of apprenticeships, he then pointed out that it was not just about creating lots of positions, it should really be about the quality.
Mr Cameron said he wants the quality of apprenticeships to be among the best in the world. He made the point that offering adequate and extra training away from the workplace, including English and Maths, is just as important as the trade you are involved in yourself.
He then explained how the government has persuaded companies to come forward and offer training programmes. This year, for example, over 100,000 extra workplaces have been made available, with opportunities in work experience, apprenticeships and traineeships.
Mr Cameron said that schools need to get better at explaining the apprenticeships that are available to young people. He also pointed out that doing an apprenticeship can be a way of going on to do a degree.
I found this very inspiring. As an apprentice myself, I am involved in the current recovery and I believe that investing in young people will help them flourish in future.
After discussion with Mr Cameron, we were directed over to the BMW factory itself where we saw an array of strange car production machines and also had the opportunity to get information from a many different organisations including Bentley Motors, Siemens, Barclays Bank, Oculus, Jaguar Land Rover and The Apprenticeships Ambassadors Network.
This networking time is a vital element of a day like this because it gives us apprentices the opportunity to build up contacts and share our experiences with employers, employees and each other.
At the end of the day was an open discussion with Matthew Hancock (Minister for Skills and Enterprise), Esther McVey (Minister for Employment) and two employers and apprentices.
I was really impressed with Esther, who spoke about the need for kids to get good careers advice at school. She told us about the time that she asked Terry Leahy (Former CEO of Tesco): “Why you? Why did you get that job above anybody else?” His answer was:
‘I started at Tesco as a shelf-stacker and worked my way up, so who could know the products in Tesco better than me?’
This was a really inspiring conclusion to the day. It was a delight to represent John O’Conner at such a prestigious event and I hope to attend similar events in the future.