The 2017 Skills and Development Awards take place at the House of Commons on November 1 at 4.00pm. We have invited our members to nominate the brightest talents from thier teams, from apprentices to post-graduates. The event will be attended by MPs, and we'll be showing them how the wholesale sector invests in the development of enthusiatic and talented people of all ages.
FWD members employ around 68,000 people, including 6000 on apprenticeships and training courses, and have a disproportionately high share of young employees between the ages of sixteen and 24, spread evenly across the entire country.
The investment that wholesalers put into identifying talent and supporting career-long training is a great contribution towards getting the country’s youth into work and providing them with the skills that will keep them there.
On November 1 2016 we invited 17 of these apprentices and trainees to join us at the Houses of Parliament not only to reward their hard work and study, but also to send a clear message to Government about wholesale distribution’s commitment to skills and training, and to equipping young people to build careers in our sector.
These are the kind of initiative that Government requests from responsible businesses, and FWD’s role is to show how members are meeting that demand, and to request in return that Government doesn’t make it harder for us to employ, train and promote young talent.
The awards were presented by Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service and the National Careers Service. She said: “It’s wonderful to see how important apprenticeships and skills development are to your industry, and that the contribution apprentices can make is being recognised here today.
“Employing young people brings the benefit of new energy and new ideas into your business all the time. Apprenticeships are a great way to get on at work and in life too. They are for people of all ages, and from what I’ve seen they can really transform lives.”
Mark Pawsey MP, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, added that in his previous career running a catering supplies distributor he had seen the advantage of employing young people.
“I’ve seen the wholesale sector grow and grow and I know the value you generate and build for our economy,” he said. “For the individuals involved and for the development of the country as a whole, the completion of an apprenticeship is just as significant as getting a degree and I’m delighted to support these awards which recognise this.”
Mr Pawsey defended the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which some employers believe is a disproportionate cost on their business which could prevent future investment in training. He said it was ‘absolutely right’ that those companies who get benefit from apprenticeship schemes should make some contribution to their development.
FWD chief executive James Bielby said FWD supported training through its Fellowship Fund, which grants bursaries for individuals in the industry to learn new skills and build a career in the sector.
He added that wholesale distributors employ 70,000 people direct and support 1.3m jobs across the supply chain, nearly 2.5 times as many as Tesco, with jobs created across the UK in every nation and region.
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