All-Party Parliamentary Group for Apprenticeships

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The All Party Parliamentary Group for Apprenticeships (APPGA) was set up in February 2012 to 'provide a forum for parliamentarians and employers to discuss how to promote the role of high quality apprenticeships, how to ensure that apprenticeships serve as a pathway to a career and how the apprenticeship model can meet the changing skill demands from business'. [1]

It is the first all-party parliamentary group (APPG) focused on apprenticeships.


The group was initially brought together by EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry qualifications, and IMI Awards, the awarding organisation for the retail motor industry.[2]

The group was launched on the back of a host of ConLib Coalition (2010-2015) government policy announcements surrounding apprenticeships, in an effort to make them more accepted and promoted on a country wide basis. In a survey conducted by EAL, it was found that 70 per cent of industry employers see apprenticeships of at least equal value to a university degree in preparing people for the workplace.[3]

Raising the profile of apprenticeships

Following the group's first meeting in the House of Commons on 28 February 2012, the former Chair of the APPGA Gordon Birtwistle (Liberal Democrat MP for Burnley 2010-2015) said:

'For the UK economy to succeed, we need to increase the skills of our workforce and Apprenticeships should play a central role in this...too often they are seen as a route only for those who have failed academically and are unable to go to university. I want to see these perceptions change and for Apprenticeships to be widely recognised as a route into highly skilled occupations.I look forward to working with the group to engage with employers, awarding organisations, training providers and the Government to raise the profile of high quality employer-led Apprenticeships, to overcome barriers that employers face and help more learners take up Apprenticeship opportunities.'

Managing Director of EAL(the lead sponsor of APPGA), Ann Watson, echoed this sentiment:

"Apprenticeships are rightfully respected by many industry employers, because they combine the practical and theoretical learning that is so important for young people and adults to succeed in the workplace.The APPG will encourage a discussion that is informed by experiences from industry, to improve access to high quality provision and give businesses the necessary support to meet their skills needs.” [4]

EAL was the sole organisation to contract Connect Communications to act as Secretariat to the group.

Beyond the 'oily rag'

The APPGA held a meeting in February 2015, the focus of which was careers advice. Following this, the group released the results of the second annual Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) survey of industry apprentices. The findings of the survey were as follows;

  • Of the 1,300 apprentices surveyed, 40 percent found careers advice and guidance to be poor or very poor.
  • Only 13 percent felt their apprenticeship was equivalent to attaining higher education qualifications.

Gordon Birtwistle, who was Chair at the time of meeting, said there was a clear need for qualified careers advisors to be put in every Secondary School to ensure that advice can be given from an early age. On top of this, it was concluded that existing apprentices should be able to visit schools to share their knowledge and experiences. Over 90 stakeholders, including training providers and organisations taking on apprenticeships attended the meeting. [5]


  • To bring parliamentarians, employers and training providers together with EAL and IMI Awards to discuss how to promote Apprenticeship training to employers.
  • To look at how the current model can meet changing demands in traditional and emerging industries, and how all sectors can benefit from high quality, employer-led apprenticeship schemes.


Connect Communications, a large political communications company, acts as the group's secretariat. [6] It is paid by its client Emta Awards Ltd to perform this role. [7]

Benefits in kind

In September 2015, it was registered that Connect Communications had been paid (in bands of £1,500) £76,501-£78,000 to act as the group's secretariat.

It is financed by the following organisations:


Parliamentary officers, Feb-April 2016

Parliamentary officers, March 2015

Membership, March 2015

Alastair Bruce (Lord Aberdare)- Crossbencher | Dominic Hubbard (Lord Addington) - Lib Dem | Jake Berry MP - Con | Gordon Birtwistle MP - Lib Dem | Neil Carmichael MP - Con | Paul Blomfield MP - Lab | Nic Dakin MP - Lab | Michelle Donelan MP - Con | Gemma Doyle MP - Lab | Susan Garden (Baroness Garden of Frognal) - Lib Dem | Matthew Hancock MP - Con | Richard Harrington MP - Con | Lord Haskel - Lab | Baroness Healy - Lab | Kelvin Hopkins MP - Lab | Simon Hughes MP - Lib Dem | Marcus Jones MP - Con | Lord Laird | Stephen Lloyd MP - Lib Dem | Jack Lopresti MP - Con | Jason McCartney MP - Con | Liz McInnes MP - Lab | Catherine McKinnell MP - Lab | John Monks (Lord Monks) - Lab | Guy Opperman MP - Con | Ian Paisley MP - DUP Chris Pincher MP - Con | David Simpson MP - DUP | Robin Walker MP - Con | Baroness Wall - Lab |[11]

Associate sponsors

The following organisations are associate sponsors of the APPGA as of May 2015:

AAT | BAE Systems | Battersea Power Station | Carillion | The Creative Tech Consortium | EAL | Heathrow Airport | Microsoft | Network Rail | OCR [12]


The public enquiry point for the group is Paul Beckford of Connect Communications.

Address: Third Floor, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4PQ

Tel: 020 7592 9592



The APPG does not have a website.


  1. All Party Parliamentary Group for ApprenticeshipsParliament Website, accessed 30 September 2015
  2. EAL Initiates Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships, Heating & Ventilating, 8 March 2012, accessed 30 September 2015
  3. New Parliamentary group launched to discuss apprenticeshipsFENews, 2 April 2015, accessed 30 September 2015
  4. EAL initiates New all Party Parliamentary Group on ApprenticeshipsEAL Website, 28 February 2012, accessed 30 September 2015
  5. Beyond the oily ragConnect Communications, 11 March 2015, accessed 30 September 2015
  6. Connect Communications SecretariatParliament Website, accessed 30 September 2015
  7. APP Register 30 March 2015Parliament Website, 30 March 2015, accessed 30 September 2015
  8. 8.0 8.1 Apprenticeships APPG Register 3 Feb 2016,, accessed 22 April 2016
  9. Apprenticeships APPG, Feb16 Register,, accessed 28 April 2016
  10. Apprenticeships APPG, Register 28 April 2016,, accessed 10 May 2016
  11. Membership list supplied to Spinwatch, 22 September 2015
  12. Sponsorship list supplied to Spinwatch, 22 September 2015