Our reforms to apprenticeships have fundamentally changed what apprenticeships are. They are now longer and more rigorous with new standards being designed and driven by industry.
We are continuing to promote all apprenticeships as a genuine, high-quality alternative to traditional academic only study for people of all ages and from all backgrounds. We launched the third phase of our apprenticeships marketing campaign, Fire it Up, in January, which promotes how apprenticeships can provide opportunities for ambitious young people.
Our 13th annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) took place in February. Nearly 900 events were held across the country, aiming to change perceptions of apprenticeships, promoting them as a high quality alternative to academic study.
In January 2018 we introduced a legal requirement for schools to give training providers the opportunity to talk to pupils about technical qualifications and apprenticeships, so that young people hear about the alternatives to academic routes. We also offer a free service to schools through the Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge (ASK) project to ensure that teachers have the knowledge and support they need to enable them to promote apprenticeships, including higher and degree apprenticeships, to their students. In the last academic year, the ASK Programme reached over 300,000 students.
We have also worked with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) to support employers to raise awareness of their apprenticeship opportunities to prospective employees through an online higher and degree apprenticeship vacancy listing. We also attended 30 UCAS exhibitions in 2019 to promote apprenticeships, engaging with around 10,000 young people, their parents and careers advisers.