Gillian started working life at 16 on an apprenticeship scheme with Delco Electronics, a subsidiary of General Motors Group,in Kirby near Liverpool. She spent these early years moving around the company, whilst also studying for a Business Studies degree at Liverpool John Moores University. Gillian's experience of a comprehensive and wide ranging apprenticeship provided her with a foundation of skills and knowledge that helped continue a 27 year long business career.
Gillian is the Co-Chair of the APPG for apprentices, providing a forum for parliamentarians and employers to discuss how to promote the role of high quality apprenticeships, such as the one Gillian experienced. There is a focus on how to ensure that apprenticeships serve as a pathway to a career, and how the apprenticeship model can meet the changing skill demands from businesses.
The Group works to ensure that apprenticeships serve as a pathway to a career and how the apprenticeship model can meet the changing skill demands from businesses. The Group has heard from all the top apprenticeship experts, including recent Ministers for Skills, top civil servants and business groups but most importantly from apprentices themselves.
In June 2017, the Group launched an Annual Report with the following key recommendations:
- Schools and colleges should provide better information as part of a reformed careers advice service which proactively encourages young people to take up an apprenticeship;
- Employers, schools and government should promote the different types of apprenticeships available, particularly degree apprenticeships, so young people can make better informed choices about their future;
- Government and business should support SMEs to take on more apprentices, particularly those in large businesses’ supply chains;
- Apprentice pay should be raised in line with their level of experience and qualification as they progress in their role to ensure that the apprentice route is attractive to as many people as possible;
- Government should promote and build the brand confidence of apprenticeships and address the geographical disparity between the perception of apprenticeships;
- Employers and government should seek to address age parity in apprenticeships and promote a renewed focus on apprenticeships for older people;
- More should be done to encourage those in underrepresented sectors to take on an apprentice, particularly women, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, BAME and disabled people. All schemes should include mentoring for apprentices.