Apprenticeship Champion

I run seminars, workshops and trips to skills shows to get young people excited about the alternative routes available.

Sarah Barley -

Teacher of Business and Post-16 Employability Skills Coordinator

South Hunsley School (North)

I started my career as a Business & Enterprise teacher 11 years ago and was then asked to support 6th form students with their career choices and employability skills. Parents, teachers and students only really talked about university and the majority of students would pay a fortune to study for a degree that they possibly never needed. I thought this wasn’t right so decided to set up an apprenticeship programme to promote the pathway and engage young people with local businesses early. I ran seminars, workshops and trips to skills shows to get young people excited about the alternative routes available and the number of people applying for an apprenticeship grew. Employers were happy as they had struggled to recruit at times and students were happy to know that there was a better route for them without the debt! The success of this group led to the development of a very successful industry mentoring programme which allows young people in Y12 and 13 to work with an employer for two years before they even apply for an apprenticeship to help develop key employability skills and investigate apprenticeship opportunities early enough to help them make the best decisions.

After the successful development of this programme I then developed an Employer Led Programme which incorporates employability skills and apprenticeship provider information into the curriculum and is no longer just seen as an add on to our current offer. Our students are now able to go for work experience/internships with a range of providers to figure out what they want to do, find out what they are good at and what skills they need to develop before an application even begins. This has helped young people make better choices and helped local employers recruit people who actually want to be there. This made headlines in the Parliamentary Review which I am really proud of.

For me, apprenticeship guidance is not just in a room with an advisor, it’s embedded within the curriculum! It’s everyone’s responsibility! Next year I aim to have all of our subject leaders linked with an apprenticeship provider so that they can use real examples in their lessons. I would love for all departments to visit providers on a training day to learn about apprenticeships within their subject areas so that the pathway can be promoted every day and in every subject!….To me….. all of this is apprenticeship guidance and promotion at it’s very best! ……….. I am still a business teacher with a real passion for apprenticeships.

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