Among the East of England winners at the National Apprenticeship Awards 2017 is Julie Honour-Jones, Student Services Manager at Sir John Lawes School, Harpenden, who won the coveted title of ‘Apprenticeship Champion’ for her commendable work to shift the mindset of students and parents with regard to apprenticeship schemes. (Centre in the picture above).

As part of her effort, Julie developed a coordinated careers plan for Sir John Lawes, which includes a Higher Apprenticeship Evening and a Careers Day, attended this year by representatives from over 70 blue chip companies and an audience of over 850 students from seven local secondary schools. These events allow students to hear directly from employers about the exceptional educational and employment opportunities offered by their apprenticeship schemes, helping dissipate the stigma surrounding apprenticeships and increasing the likelihood of take-up. The events are set to grow in the coming year to accommodate over 1000 students from nine schools.

On being announced as winner, Julie said: “I am delighted to receive this award and to see the success of this strategy, which has been evidenced by a growing alumni of apprentices who have secured extremely competitive Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, returning each year to represent their organisations and reinforce the positive message about apprenticeships.”  

Apprenticeships are a key priority for the LEP and are vital to the growth of our local economy, as evidenced in our Strategic Economic Plan. Through our Apprenticeship Strategy, we work to raise the profile of apprenticeships to ensure they are seen as a valuable development opportunity and to boost participation amongst young people and employers.

Norman Jennings, Hertfordshire LEP Skills & Employment Manager says, "We applaud Julie’s proactive approach to promoting apprenticeships and offer our congratulations on her well-deserved win. The success of her strategy is clearly evident and we hope she continues to inspire students and parents to actively consider apprenticeships as a viable career path."

Now in its 14th year, the National Apprenticeship Award highlights the many success stories and benefits of apprenticeships. The National Apprenticeship Service supports the delivery of apprenticeships in England, offering free impartial advice and support to employers looking to recruit for the first time or expand their apprenticeship workforce. Search for apprenticeships on www.gov.uk to find out more.